'Abra Cadaver', The Hives Are Here

The Hives
Manchester Apollo
September 24, 2004
The Hives hit the Apollo stage bang on 9.30pm opening with 'Abra Cadaver', and from there on it was a night of short, sharp, poppy, punk tunes.

Lead singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist is a small guy with a huge stage presence, and as for energy, if there was a point where he wasn't moving about then I must have blinked. His larger than life persona seems to combine the moves of a young hammy Jagger with the cheesy lines of Barry White.

For a Swede his adopted accent is not far off South Park's Chef. 'I kinda think this could be the best show we've played but then again. The Hives put on a good show every night.' he drawls.

He is a perfect foil for the rest of the band who are pretty static but industrious and tight. Their image, which seems to be that of club bouncers, is at odds with their obvious musical expertise which is faultless.

Chris Dangerous is perched up high and provides the intense drumming and the rapid fire intros to the songs. Intros which set up guitarist Nicholas Arson quite nicely to burst in with squalling riff after riff. Matt Destruction pumps out the bass and remains quite happily out of the spotlight. The other essential element to this explosive mix is Vigilante Carlstroem providing the taut rhythms on guitar.

Up front is where all the action takes place though. Howlin'Pelle Almquist,
move s from one side of the stage to another, sometimes squatting,
other times striking a dramatic pose or letting the mike stand drop then
reeling it in via it's lead. A number of times he jumps through the front security to begin what looks like the start of a crowd surf only to pull back at the last minute.

The songs, the illuminated backdrop, the white suits and spats, and the punk inspired riffs all add up to a semi-serious twist on the ingredients supplied by the likes of The Stooges, MC5, The Ramones or The Buzzcocks and The Clash.

'Main Offender' and 'Hate To Say I Told You So' are thrown in to bowl over the already jubilant crowd. The energy levels fizz like a high powered hum from a power station. The final song AKA Idiot leaves the place buzzing.

If you wanted to adopt Howlin'Pelle Almqvist's drawl you could sum-up with something suitably cheesy like 'Strong palatable and with a definite kick; The Hives, perfect for a Friday night.'

Writer: Pete Doherty

Photo:Pete Doherty

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