The Hives Atlanta 2021

The Hives + The Alive @ Center Stage – October 22nd 2021

As we put pandemic stricken 2020 in the rearview mirror, it seems like it has been ages since we have had the chance to wander out of our shells of self-isolation and feed off the energy of a crowd being charged by live rock n roll… And who better to deliver that power than everyone’s favorite Swedish garage-rock punk band, The Hives.  Coming off a series of well received live-streamed shows, the Hives have been craving that same dynamic crowd interaction as the rest of us, and lucky for everyone, they have hit the road for a short run of US shows.  When we saw they were going to be playing the Shaky Knees Music Fest in Atlanta, we got excited… When we noticed they were booked to play a late-night show at Center Stage the night prior to their Saturday performance at the festival, we knew we had to be there!

The Friday night crowd at Center Stage was buzzing with anticipation when the lights dropped and a drummer casually walked out, took a seat behind the kit and began pounding out a beat.  He was quickly joined by the rest of his bandmates, all dressed in semi-formal black and white attire, and the Hives immediately kicked into “Come On!”, the opening track from Lex Hives.  That was followed immediately by barnstorming hit “Main Offender.”  From there, they slammed their foot on the accelerator and didn’t let up until the end of the night.  The mix of classic hits and newer singles found the sweet spot.

Lead singer and consummate showman “Howlin’” Pelle Almqvist grabbed the audience immediately with a brash and self-assuredly charismatic delivery that channeled James Brown through Iggy Pop.  He was all motion, strutting around the stage in a manner that would make Mick Jagger proud, swinging his microphone in arcing Roger Daltrey windmills, and ultimately breaking the invisible barrier between audience and performer by climbing over the rail, in the middle of a song, and into the outstretched arms of the swarming crowd.

Between songs, Almqvist became part comedian and part carnival barker.  His banter was hilarious and engaging, but at times it did feel a bit too familiar and rehearsed… He flirted right on the edge of being a bit schticky at times, but always managed to pull it back and never lost his charm.

Not to be outdone, Nicholaus Arson, the man responsible for those irresistible guitar hooks, was quite the showman himself.  When he wasn’t furiously attacking his instrument, he was at the front of the stage taunting the audience and working the crowd into a frenzy.

The Hives, having been around for more than 20 years, show no signs of slowing down.  In fact, word has it that they were busy working on new material during the pandemic.  Perhaps a new album could be on the horizon.  Their set at Center Stage, was solid, if a bit short… But as the great showmen say, “Always leave them wanting more.”    

The evening was opened by fellow Shaky Knees festival performers, The Alive.  The California-based teen band, bonded over skating and surfing before finding a passion for high-energy rock…  

Setlist:

  • Come On!
  • Main Offender
  • Go Right Ahead
  • Paint A Picture
  • Won’t Be Long
  • Good Samaritan
  • Walk Idiot Walk
  • Two Timing Touch
  • My Time Is Coming
  • See Through Head
  • Hate To Say I Told You So

Encore:

  • I’m Alive
  • Try It Again
  • Tick Tick Boom



The Hives + The Alive @ Center Stage
Photos © Dan Kulpa // Clashdan Photography

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