Text and photos by Julie Finley
March 10, 2013
The Hives recently tore through Cleveland and not a moment too soon, since there hasn’t been ANYTHING worth seeing live since . . . well . . . Firewater from last year. Otherwise, Cleveland is as bereft of culture and entertainment as ever (despite what various lame bloggers write about after visiting their loser friend that happens to live here over a weekend, that same loser friend that pretends like they live in a hip and up and coming place. No, it’s down and swirling!).
Almost all of the venues are mismanaged shit-holes in neighborhoods you should never consider going near—except for the House of Blues. Locals like to whine about the House of Blues since it is a corporate franchise, but lets face it: the bands that bother to grace Cleveland want to make money (as they should). They don’t want to make peanuts just to play some dive run by some jerk that short-changes them on everything, and doesn’t maintain the sound system. However, Cleveland is so dry when it comes to entertainment, that even the House of Blues struggles to get national acts in there (which is why I was surprised the Hives played Cleveland at all).
The crowd was of average size—not empty, not packed—which is actually not a bad turn-out by Cleveland standards. I just hope it was acceptable to The Hives because I will go see them every fucking time they play around here. They are just THAT GOOD to see live, and this show didn’t disappoint. The Hives are notorious for putting on fantastic shows and every time I have gotten to see them they play like it is the last one they’ll ever do. Never a boring moment; just fun to be had!
The Hives are in a class of their own, and that is tough to come by in this day and age. Everything is so processed, choreographed, and auto-tuned in regards to newer music, and many of the older bands that are still touring pretty much phone in their performances (but, I can’t rag on that too much; people age, and it is exhausting to exert that much energy). The Hives members are all in various stages of their 30s, and being a 30-something myself, I know how exhausting it is to do menial shit like grocery shopping. Yet Howlin’ Pelle Almquist and his brother Nicholaus Arson, have the energy of 10-year-olds with ADHD that have been denied their Ritalin.
Not to mention, they looked more dapper than ever! The Hives keep upping their ante with their black and white attire, donning matching tuxedos (with tails) and top hats. I know it is a gimmick, but it’s a fabulous gimmick! They look the part, and they are able to pull off the cocky bravado with ease. Howlin’ Pelle never missed the chance to engage in some hilarious banter in between songs that is still in step with the humorous arrogance they are known for.
The Hives live shows are a spectacle I feel lucky to have had the chance to view more than once, because they have totally nailed the recipe in regards to entertainment. They are well dressed, well rehearsed, full of energy, absolutely hilarious . . . and seriously, a fantastic rock & roll band in the purest sense!