The Hives @ Rock City (April 16 2008)

Having arrived late to the gig we were expecting to walk in on a seething mass of sweaty teenagers so the docile crowd with a fair contingent of smart thirty year olds was a surprise. Within five minutes, the band was on stage but the crowd wasn’t biting. Even an ear-shattering rendition of ‘Idiot Walk’ wasn’t enough and we breezed our way to the front easily where the crowd was at least pogo-ing. Frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist was having none of this, “Whenever we’re not making noise you will,” he ordered the crowd, raising a few half-hearted cheers. He meant it though; the band stopped playing until the noise of the crowd was deafening. Slowly but surely, with banter worthy of an East End grocer (“give yourselves a round of applause, ‘cos from now on it’s all for me”), he worked the crowd into the heaving maelstrom everyone knew it should be. The combination of Almqvist’s cocksure stage persona and the music’s blistering ferocity finally woke the audience up and by the time ‘Die Alright’ came on the pit was a surging mass of flailing elbows. When it came to the obligatory pre-encore walk off the crowd was baying for more. They duly complied, returning one instrument at a time, each member getting a cheer (none quite like Almqvist’s) and bringing the gig to its logical conclusion, a deafening crescendo. All I can say is, Mick Jagger eat your heart out.

Edd Gent


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