The Hives (O2 Academy Bristol – Dec’12)

It’s clear why Dublin three-piece The Minutes were billed for the support. With frontman Mark Austin commanding the crowd to loosen themselves up, the traditional guitar bass and drums line-up straight away began kicking out punchy rock anthems that subsequently drew the crowd into an early mosh pit… Now not many bands can provoke such a reaction from a warm-up slot. The Minutes’ great enthusiasm was largely driven by drummer Shane Kinsella, who sported his Fred Perry finery, as he took on a lead role throughout the set and fuelled the trio’s energy from track to track. The HivesThe support set the pace for the rest of the night as illuminated letters were lined up along the backdrop spelling HIVES. The suited and booted entourage took their positions after the stage crew, dressed in ninja suits, had made final preparations. Right away there was a surge of people separating the men from the boys… The machine gun like drums of the one-minute punk opener “Come On” began. The crowd had evidently forgotten that it was a Monday and let themselves go. Expectations were heightened for the rest of the night; with little time for air and a few seconds allowing the band to lose their top hats, the next track “Try It Again” kept the tempo up… Surprisingly early, the sweaty Swedish machines dropped in “Main Offender”, and with great finesse. Nobody can questionThe Hives ability to put on a show; every intricate stage theatric added to the enjoyment of the night with Bristol’s 02 Academy proving to be the perfect ballroom for the well-clad indie rockers to shake up. “What’s your favourite country?” THE HIVES! “What did you have for breakfast this morning?” THE HIVES! “What’s your mothers maiden name?” THE HIVES! From the off frontman Pelle Almqvist had the crowd at his fingertips, launching himself down onto the barrier, spurring on the spontaneous crushes and even causing a few injuries… After clouting heads during one of these rowdier moments, I looked up and the man holding his head swore and then said:  ‘The last time that happened to me was at Nirvana, Reading Festival!’ It felt like some kind of vintage punk gig. The track “Die Alright” continued to stir up some ‘aggro’ sending the Academy into a punky pogo. Material from Lex Hives was featured throughout the set and although some would argue that the 2012 release was a safe option, sticking to their guns proved evidently wise as they certainly know how to execute that garage rock live. “Come On”, “Wait A Minute” and “Patrolling Days all stood up against the older numbers. Their fresh upbeat catchiness enabled a fun light-hearted bounce around. Closing a three-track encore was “Tick Tick Boom”,during which the crowd was ordered to sit down until the climax. When one member stood up early, Almqvist shouted, ‘ Sir please remain seated while the aeroplane is moving’. It wasn’t the first time we had this kind of humour throughout the night. The Hives are back and they are just crazy and hilarious as ever. Find out more about The Hives at their official website: Review by Rhys Buchanan