Gino DePinto, AOL On a sweltering New York City afternoon, the Hives came up…
- Posted on Apr 27th 2012 11:30AM by Kenneth Partridge
Gino DePinto, AOL
"Silence is not on the guest list!" Almqvist declared midway through, speaking as always in the mock-arrogant voice of a megalomaniacal ESL student. "Silence will have to take a few laps around the block before it can come in."
It was Pelle's way of saying "shut up and move," a phrase he might have actually uttered at another point in the show. And why not? It's the only rule at a Hives show, and as the willfully ridiculous rockers sped through their hour-long set, gradually wriggling out of the tuxedos they've chosen as their latest black-and-white uniform, few dared to question the singer's authority.
Maybe it's because the Hives are such benevolent dictators. After opening with "Come On!" the leadoff track from the forthcoming Lex Hives, their first album in five years, Almqvist allowed for a brief moment of calm, posing as fans snapped iPhone photos.
"Now put away those cameras and dance," he said, segueing into the brand-new "Take Back the Toys," a 2:54 blast of distortion, melody and lockstep Devo-on-speed drumming as potent as any in the group's catalog.
The Hives are ostensibly on a return-to-rock kick, but even as they played songs from their last full-length, the experimental, Neptunes-assisted Black and White album, they kept it simple, creating a sound that's irresistible precisely because it's irreducible. These guys could make a record with the Stockholm Philharmonic, and it would still sound like robots jamming on Raw Power.
In a set stuffed with anthems -- "Hate to Say I Told You So," "Walk Idiot Walk," "Main Offender" -- any song could have been the closer, but the Hives opted for "Tick Tick Boom," a Lichtenstein "pow!" set to music. When it was over, Almqvist raised his arms in triumph, celebrating another victory over peace and quiet.