The Hives at The Metro, Sydney

The Hives_7

Elfy Scott got sweaty, dazzled and, well, a bit aroused when The Hives put on a show in Sydney last week:

The 7th of January 2013 not only presented Sydneysiders with a blistering, oppressive, dick-sweatingly hot day but also the opportunity to catch a live performance of the notoriously entertaining and brilliant Swedish garage rock band, the Hives, at the Metro in Sydney. It was with a heady sense of anticipation and a bra full of sweat that I approached this gig.

Dune Rats, the young Brisbane-based surfer punk band were supporting and having caught their act several times as an introduction to names such as Children Collide and Violent Soho, I had a fair idea of what to expect. Dune Rats constantly have the general appearance of kids that look as though they have just stepped out of a friend’s bong hut and their stage demeanor suggests they’re unaware they ever left. Their energy is staggeringly casual, totally enjoyable and incredibly effective as far as getting a crowd going is concerned. However, as much as their failure-to-give-a-fuck attitude makes them appealing live performers, it also tends to set the tone for an audience craving the appearance of a band with a lot tighter a set, the type of band that is both charismatic and captivating, the type of band that may just all turn up wearing top hat and tails to their gig, oh yes…

The Hives_3The Hives launched their set with a wildly energetic rendition of Come On from their 2012 release, Lex Hives. As is the rule we have all learnt from night clubs in our time, songs that repeat a single line over and over are far less irritating when played in a venue in which it is possible to raucously throw yourself around. Distinctively dynamic front man, Pelle Almqvist, bounded around maniacally and ordered the audience to “come on” with the chant of the song and come on we did- for the women and bi-curious, it was mostly on the floor.

The energy of the set only grew from that point, spurred on by the infectious confidence of Almqvist’s hilarious banter and even more so by his outrageous stage presence as he leapt around from the drum stand and repeatedly down to the crowd to greet the audience and make the nose-bleed section communally lose their shit. The set list was equally old tracks and new, with not a dull moment in between and seamless transitions from longstanding favourites from albums such as Tyrannosaurus Hives and Veni, Vidi, Vicious to newer tracks from Lex Hives. Almqvist consistently had the crowd in frenzied state of excitement with confident assertions that the current heat wave was, in fact, caused by the Hives presence and never once faltering to inform the audience of how fantastic the next track was going to be (he didn’t lie, they were all excellent). Notable songs being those such as Main Offender, No Pun Intended and the oddly placed, but no less appreciated, Hate to Say I Told You So nearing the end of the set.

The night drew to a close with a generous three-song encore finalized by Tick Tick Boom from their Black and White Album during which the audience was instructed to get to the ground by Almqvist and one was given the distinct impression that he was only asking these things because he knew he could- then again, who could deny a man that ludicrously good-looking? As it turns out, nobody in the Metro that night.

The Hives put on an undeniably exhilarating performance; the music was impeccable (who expected less? Then again, who really cares?), ears were dazzled, the audience was sweaty and genitalia was collectively aroused. There is little more one can ask for from live performance.

 Words by Elfy Scott. Photos (taken from the recent Falls Festival), by Sophie Metcalfe.