The Hives, Hammersmith Apollo, London, November 2007
You have to respect The Hives. Any criticism of them being gimmicky or a piss-take does not stick. Very few bands can deliver (long-term) the kind of schtick they do AND a relentless stream of knockout, hook-laden rock songs. I mean, all rock and roll is acting, so why not turn it up to eleven? A live gig of theirs is a cartoon, but with credibility… and they are very well dressed. Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist was in fine form, prancing & pouting like a lost Jagger, screaming “Are… you… ready… Lon! Don!” He is a fine frontman, and an even better agitator of the crowd. Sometimes gigs can be a little wooden, the band just turn up and play offering no more than a token “Are we having a good time?” (I'm looking at you, New Order), but Pelle is a nutter that just won’t shut up - the Ring Master of a black and white circus troupe. When The Hives were called in at short notice on last year’s Big Day Out, I thought they would be a good choice. Why does rock have to be all ‘pointy-headed’ all of the time? I think some out and out ridiculousness like The Hives acts a release valve on pretentiousness… and they are very well dressed. I love ’Die, All Right!’ - it was the first song I ever heard of theirs back at the start of the. ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’, ‘Tick Tick Boom’, ‘Main Offender’, ‘Two Time And Touch And Broken Bones’, ‘Walk Idiot Walk’, ‘Try It Again’… its all dang fine twin guitar attack rock and roll, with sprinkles of metal, punk, a little skank and lots of great shout-along choruses. Left a huge grin on my mush that did. Gonna pick ‘Walk Idiot Walk’ as my fave song, something about it’s bedrock repetitive beat makes it impossible to not jiggle along.