Live Music Reviews

The Hives + CDOASS @ Electric Ballroom, London

3 June 2004

The first thing that’s noticeable about the Electric Ballroom in Camden is the fact that everything more than four feet away is hidden behind a huge fog of cigarette smoke. However, after a half hour wait or so, a bright orange shirt, an afro to rival that of Michael Jackson in his Jackson Five days and three identical looking men arrived on stage. As the lights went down and the luminous spotlight turned on, the band – aptly named CDOASS – could be clearly seen and proceeded with their set.

This Swedish five-piece were enough themselves to excite the crowd. A hybrid between Kraftwerk, The Rapture and Haloblack, CDOASS released a fusion of techno-rock accompanied by their singer and guitarist’s amusing and rather worrying dance moves. Although the band appear to be at the height of their game with a musical genre that attempts to stretch the limits, their half hour set appeared to be too much for some who began to heckle. This reaction though was hopefully due to an immense wanting for The Hives as CDOASS proved to be a talented as well as entertaining opening act.

The Hives, who have enjoyed success over continents east and west of the globe, finally returned to England after a near two-year break from our shores. Or, as lead singer Pelle Almqvist of the quintet put it :”We are returned to your humble abode of England!!”.

Broken English aside, no one in the crowd was prepared for what was to come. Not in terms of pyrotechnics, because the closest to that was the luminous sign at the back of the stage. Not in terms of a lengthened set, because just like most headlining acts, The Hives played for merely 45 minutes. But in terms of song and stage presence alone, they shocked hard.

Delivering a solid set of garage rock ‘n’ roll influenced punk, The Hives obliterated the Electric Ballroom with a refined but yet exquisitely raw version of their songs. They reeled through gems from the forthcoming album together with old hits such as Die All Right, Supply and Demand and their most famous song Hate To Say I Told You So.

Almqvist, otherwise known as the humourously egotistical member of the band, often interrupted the breaks between numbers with comments such as “Did you miss us?” and “You think we’re the best, don’t you?”. Only a band with tremendous talent could justify such comments and luckily for Pelle, The Hives have reason to boast.

The Hives are definitely a band that put as much effort into their live performances as they do into their records and media campaigns, and tonight, the audience witnessed something extraordinary. Not only were they handed a comedic 45 minutes worth of conversation from the Fagersta Five but they were also bombarded with loud, Rolling Stones-esque punk rock – it may have left the crowd thinking that The Hives weren’t just their New Favourite Band but rather their favourite band full stop.

Do we think The Hives are the best? If tonight’s anything to go by, yes we do.

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Interview: The Hives