The Hives -- The Buzz Is Back
Submitted By Pat Blythe
Photo Credits: PAT BLYTHE
A Girl With A Camera "The Picture Taker"
Hives vocalist Per Pelle Almquvist
Bold, brazen, at times frenzied....electric...simply on fire. My introduction to The Hives, a Swedish garage rock band initially formed in 1993 by Per "Pelle" Almquvist and his brother Nicholaus, was to say the least, mind blowing.
Poncing, prancing and strutting around on stage, lead vocalist Pelle is Mick Jagger personified except....he has slightly more grace and flair with equal amounts of cockiness.....and his high leaps and kicks are effin' amazing. The microphone swing is well.....in FULL swing. Well practiced and choreographed it's part of the natural flow of things. Modesty is not Pelle's middle name. The crowd loved him. He has no shame in calling The Hives the crowd's favourite rock bank....day or night. Leaping off the stage a number of times and wading into the crowd, Pelle shines in the limelight. A true performer and entertainer....and yes, he can sing. A pretty good voice as a matter-of-fact....way, better than Jagger. Even Jagger's mother was apparently quoted as saying he couldn't sing for his supper. Pelle's favourite spot on stage....standing on top of the monitors. Second fave, standing on the kick drum (I'm beginnning to wonder how tall he actually is). He never, ever, stands still and he has no hesitation of sticking his face right in your camera. Talk about up close and personal.
Both drummer Christian Grahn (who almost leapt onto his seat twirling drumsticks) and lead guitarist Niklas Almquvist are crazed musicians. At one point Grahn was beating the drums so frentically I thought for sure he'd collapse in the hot sun. By the end of the set you could see the sweat literally dripping off him. Almquvist prowls around on stage like a cat, often coming right to the edge to stare (or glare) into the audience. At one point he also leapt off the stage and continued to play while body surfing through the crowd. Wireless technology is a marvelous thing.
Black and White
The band's two stage techs were completely garbed in head-to-toe Ninja outfits, one in black, the other in white, matching the black-and-white suits adorning the band members. Each "Ninja" stood stock still on opposite sides of the stage, each one dangling the bass and lead guitars in their hands, waiting for pickup as the band bounded on stage.
From what I can see in the multitude of pics this band has garnered, they are always impeccably dressed on stage and always in black-and-white. Even off stage you will never catch the band out of "costume".....ever. According to drummer Chris "Dangerous" Grahn, "The Hives always dress in black-and-white uniforms because it makes them look like they belong together."
Back At The Hive
Their story begins in 1993 in Fagersta, Sweden. The Hives released their first demo "Sounds Like Sushi" in 1994 and in 1995 were signed to a subsidiary of skate punk record label Burning Heart. Their debut EP, "Oh Lord! When?How?" was released in 1995. After signing directly with Burning Heart the following year, the group released their first full-length album, "Barely Legal" in 1997 and began their first tour of the U.S. Their breakout album in 1998, "Veni Vidi Vicious" with the single "I Hate To Say I Told You So", garnered serious attention leading to praise and acknowledgement from musicians as diverse as Noel Gallagher and Courtney Love.
Although he never materializes in the flesh, all the original songwriting is attributed to "Randy Fitzsimmons" whom the band claim as an honourary "sixth Hive" and who apparently discovered and manages the band.
The Hives became one of the more fashionable bands of the early 21st century, rising to prominence at the same time as the Strokes and The White Stripes. In 2004 SPIN Magazine called them "the BEST live band on the planet". They have released a total of five albums, the most recent "Lex Hives" in 2012 on their own Disque Hives label.
Here and Now
Appearing on the main stage at TURF, this was my first time experiencing The Hives and it will remain indelibly imprinted on my brain. There are no limits to their energy. Their movements are fast and unexpected. Entertaining to the extreme, The Hives continue to tour internationally while currently working on their sixth album. In 2015 they released "Blood Red Moon" from their up-and-coming sixth album. This band has no intention of calling it quits and it's blatantly obvious if you watch their show. They thrive and come alive on stage.
The buzz is back!