The Hives Announce Their Return with a Loud and Rowdy Show at Racket
May 17, 2023
The Hives – Racket – May 16, 2023
The Hives are back! The Swedish rockers had lots of things to say from the stage at Racket in New York City on Tuesday night, but the main message to the very sold-out crowd was that after an 11-year break, the band had returned. And judging from the audience’s reaction, it was not a moment too soon. Decked out in their white-lightning suits, they opened with “Bogus Operandi,” the latest single off their soon-to-be-released album. The mood onstage and in the club was best described as loud and rowdy as the Hives quick-hit their way through more new songs and plenty of old favorites.
Before “Good Samaritan,” frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist asked if New Yorkers liked it fast, which felt quite rhetorical as the crowd pogoed along to the band’s blazing tempos. Rock and roll clichés are clichés for a reason and the Hives put on a clinic throughout the set with microphones swinging from their cords, Almqvist singing from the floor or surfing the crowd, legs-astride bass soloing from Johan “the Johan and Only” Gustafsson, and plenty of call-and-response choruses from the eating-it-up crowd. “Go Right Ahead” evoked AC/DC with serious guitar riffs and plenty of screaming both on the stage and off.
“Stick Up,” another new one, felt heavier and darker, with its bluesy guitar from Niklas Almqvist, who dangled over the crowd just out of reach as he played, everyone in the room shouting out the chorus like they’d been listening to the song for a decade and not just a few minutes. As the set blazed to its “every fucking song from now on is a banger” conclusion, the Hives found a comfort zone in that spot where garage rock starts to become punk: “Trapdoor Solution,” fast and loud in a single smear of guitar, bass and drums, “I’m Alive” felt heavy dipping into minor key, the drum marching the audience into the unknown. The set burned bright and generated a lot of heat and as quickly as it ignited, it came to an end, a double encore of “Come On!” and “Tick Tick Boom” providing the final chance for fans to bounce and pump their fists and laryngitis-sing-along. That is, their final chance until the Hives return in the fall. The Hives are back! —A. Stein | @Neddyo
Photos courtesy of Edwina Hay | thisisnotaphotograph.com