Less than five minutes into their set, the Hives’ lead singer, the aptly named “Howlin” Pelle Almqvist, let the audience in Anaheim know the extent of his musical abilities. “I love doing this. But if I didn’t love doing it, they would make me do it anyway, because I’m so good at it.”
The remark certainly wasn’t out of place for Almqvist. The Hives are something of the musical equivalent of Muhammad Ali, full of a sort of arrogance and swagger that lets everyone know that they distinguish themselves from the crowd. And just like the famed heavyweight fighter, they pack a mean punch. The Hives had the chance to go a full two rounds at their two shows at the House of Blues in Anaheim on Jan. 16.
Almqvist stole the show, as any good lead rock singer should. Shaking and strutting like the mistaken for lost love child of Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop. Almqvist had his work cut out for him though, as the other band members rocked furiously around him. Nicholas Arson played the guitar with an expression on his face that seemed to be taunting the crowd to try to find a better guitar player. Showing that playing furious guitar licks is indeed a viable way to lose weight was Vigilante Carlstroem, a not-so-svelte member of the Hives.
The music of the the Hives borders on ridiculous. After all, topics of their songs include selling your body to medical science to earn a few dollars (“Die, All Right”), the pratfalls of evolution (“Missing Link”) or just being an idiot in general (“Walk Idiot Walk”). Yet the Swedish lads rock with an intensity that is anything but a joke. The Hives were done with one show in forty minutes, but there wasn’t a bit of complaining in the crowd. Audience members were left wondering what they had just seen… and when they could see it again. In a town with Cinderella’s Castle, Indiana Jones and Mickey Mouse, the Hives still managed to stand out.