Review: ‘The Hives’

Here are some facts about the Hives: The band's one-note riffing all sounds the same, the costume bit is stilted, the calculation gets in the way of the music, the novelty wears thin. Nevertheless, the Hives are a hell of a lot of fun. Only a hardcore cynic could listen to the band's most recent album -- c'mon, the disc's called "Tyrannosaurus Hives" (Interscope) -- and disagree, and you'd have to be practically dead not to want to dance around and sing along to the band's often ridiculous punk rock.

Here are some facts about the Hives: The band’s one-note riffing all sounds the same, the costume bit is stilted, the calculation gets in the way of the music, the novelty wears thin. Nevertheless, the Hives are a hell of a lot of fun. Only a hardcore cynic could listen to the band’s most recent album — c’mon, the disc’s called “Tyrannosaurus Hives” (Interscope) — and disagree, and you’d have to be practically dead not to want to dance around and sing along to the band’s often ridiculous punk rock.

Spin recently called the Hives one of the best live bands on the planet and, while the show doesn’t carry any emotional heft, it’s certainly a blast. That’s thanks mainly to singer-screamer-growler-yeller Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, who never met a rock cliche he didn’t both love and ironically disapprove of.

Through songs as varied as “Walk Idiot Walk” and “A.K.A. I-D-I-O-T,” he high-kicked, shimmied, waggled, commanded, unloaded and dropped into the audience regularly — none of it so much as ruffling his black-and-white suit.

Speaking of that uniform: The band’s members are well aware of their own stupidity, no matter how much posing and preening Almqvist does that might suggest the contrary. At one point in the show, he started rambling: “Tonight it’s Friday night/Don’t be so uptight/The Hives are here/dressed in black and white.” Like all the rest of the best Hives shtick, it walked the line between ego-boosting and self-mocking — pure ridiculousness and pure fun.

The Hives

The Wiltern LG; 2,200 capacity; $20

Production

Presented by KROQ. Reviewed Dec. 10, 2004.

Cast

Band: Howlin' Pelle Almqvist, Nicholaus Arson, Vigilante Carlestroem, Dr. Matt Destruction, Chris Dangerous.
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