The Hives Live Review Leeds O2 Academy

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By Graham Clark, April 2024

It pays to be patient if you happen to be a fan of The Hives; the Swedish rock band released their new album The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons, last autumn – 11 years after their previous album Lex Hives.

The new album title refers to a so called sixth member of the band, who was supposedly the main songwriter in the group, besides being their manager. After an assured and confident performance at the o2 Academy in Leeds the announced death seems a little premature as the band opens their current nationwide tour.

If you were to believe frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist then nearly every song he introduces is entitled Yorkshire! His wit and energy are what make the night entertaining – with a dash of Mick Jagger and a touch of Brandon Flowers from The Killers, Almqvist is the perfect frontman. “You must all have high IQs as you have bought tickets to tonight’s show,” he jests.

Though this all might seem spontaneous, the gig is planned and primed to perfection; from the simple black and white lighting, the jokes that flow thick and fast, along with the walk through the audience, here is a show where attention to detail is paramount.

The new album continues in their trademark breakneck speed, with influences  coming from garage and punk rock, with a layer of electric vocals and staccato guitar. It all appears to be business as usual. Opening with a track off the new album ‘Bogus Operandi’ might seem like a wild move, but when new tracks are as good as this, who cares.

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“High energy”

Other tracks off the new album are equally as good alongside old favourites, ‘Rigor Mortis Radio’ feels thrilling and alive, ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’ is electrifying and ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is another magical moment.

Famed for their tight and intense sets, Almqvist shares that Leeds was about to experience “the second longest Hives show that anyone has seen”. Whether this was one of his regular jokes or not, the band are on stage for over 90-minutes for a show where the energy levels do not drop.

Naturally, it is the biggest tracks that get the mosh pit brewing up a storm. ‘Go Right Ahead’ and ‘Come On!’ prove that The Hives are one of the best rock acts currently on tour – their energy and enthusiasm and spirit bring to mind Rocket From The Crypt mixed with the showmanship of The Killers.

With Almqvist back down in the audience yet again for the aptly titled ‘Try It Again’ the gig reaches an even higher energy level as ‘Tick Tick Boom’ concludes one if the hottest and sweatiest gigs the O2 Academy has witnessed so far this year.

As the Carly Simon hit, ‘Nobody Does It Better’ plays over the PA as The Hives leave the stage, it is a sentiment shared following this captivating and triumphant return.

images: Graham Clark


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