|The Hives - Bristol, O2 Academy - 10th December 2012|
|Written by Dom Daley|
|Thursday, 03 January 2013 03:00|
It might have been a dark and very cold Monday night in Bristol but from the moment The Hives took to the stage the temperature was raised considerably as the band kicked off with newie ‘Come On’, and for the next hour and a half it was non stop rock and roll.
With the word Hives spelt out in huge Ikea like light boxes in front of the backdrop tonight had the feeling of something special and looking rather dapper in their penguin suits complete with top hats the band’s latest album ‘Lex Hives’ was going to get a good airing. It had been quite some time since I last saw the Hives live and after a lengthy hiatus from the band I was worried that another great band had called it a day until the new album came out of the blue like a lightening bolt and soon it was like they’d never been away.
Without too much fanfare (relatively speaking of course, seeing as it is The Hives we're talking about) Howlin’ Pelle was straight on it with the patter that matters. Holding court “Hives style” to a packed out Academy before you could blink we were already three new songs down, before the roof nearly came in with a spectacular ‘Main Offender’ followed by ‘Walk Idiot Walk’. For a brief moment of respite we had the spooky intro of ‘My Time Is Coming’ before we’re off again and as Howlin’ Pelle patrols the stage with a grin wider than a Cheshire cat the band sound fantastic, with the dual guitar attack of Nicholaus Arson and Vigilante Carlstroem whipping up a storm whilst Dr Matt Destruction and Chris Dangerous hold the steadiest of beats in the engine room.
Halfway through the performance ‘Wait A Minute’ sounds as familiar as the band’s classics, which is testament to the quintet and how they can pen such majestic and memorable garage punk rock tunes. The beauty of ‘Wait A Minute’ was the roadies that were dressed as Ninjas and mucked in with backing vocals which was a sight to behold, and raised more than the odd smile. On more than one occasion they had me grinning as they pulled drumsticks from their utility belts to throw to Dangerous when he would wear one out. Seeing the silhouette of the Ninjas against the backdrop of the huge light boxes was classic. The Hives are of course the complete experience! Apart from knowing their way around some mighty fine tunes they put on a “show” from the fine details of the stage set and their smart attire right down to their rock and roll Ninja road crew!
Who in their right mind wouldn’t want them watching their backs?
Pelle by this time has the Bristol crowd eating out of the palm of his hand as he mesmerises them into his “Gospel according to The Hives” even if they did steal ‘I Want More’ from The Arrows it sounded massive. As we reached the end of the main set ‘Genepool Convulsions’ followed by ‘Patrolling Days’ were a highlight for me and showed that The Hives are suffering no hangover for the time away, and in fact in turn songs like ‘Die All Right!’ sounded rejuvenated and fresh.
If you happened to miss The Hives on this recent tour, then shame on you, because they were in superb form, and for me the world is a much nicer place with them in it doing what they do. As the band strode off stage the Academy was jumping like a cat on a hot tin roof after such a triumphant return from the five guys from Sweden.
After the briefest of interludes the band returned to the stage for a rapid one - two - three encore as Howlin’ Pelle lapped up the deserved applause that was being offered up to him, and a Stonesy ‘Go Right Ahead’ showed Mick and Keith exactly how it should be done, before the band signed off with the majestic and appropriate ‘Tick Tick Boom’.
With nowhere else to go after that the band bowed out as the masses filed out of the Academy knowing they'd had their money’s worth and been entertained by a beat combo who know exactly what they're doing and do it better than most. Looking back now perhaps the only regret was that on the UK jaunt The Hives didn't have the Bronx in tow like they did across the rest of Europe, but in truth I'm not sure Bristol could have coped with both bands.
It’s wonderful to have The Hives back and hopefully it wont be another ten plus years before our paths cross again. Simply stunning performers and performance.
‘Lex Hives’ is the law now just don't forget it!