The Hives Toronto Show Review December 1, 2013

On their 3-day tour stopover in Toronto opening for Pink, Swedish rockers The Hives had a free day to do whatever they liked. It was good news for many people when The Hives announced that they would be playing a show at the Phoenix Concert Theater on the first Sunday of December. As dusk fell, the line outside the Phoenix gradually grew and there was a sense of excitement in the evening air. The people attending a Hives show for the first time that night were about to embark on an adrenalin pumping, strangely romantic, Ninja filled show with tons of wonderful moments thrown in for good measure.

As people started flooding into the Phoenix, many surprised looks and big grins grew on their faces as they glanced over at the stage. Hanging behind the drum set was a giant poster with the image of Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, the front man for The Hives, glaring down at the stage in an almost evil humorous way.

Soon after the venue was almost full, it was time for some Danish rockers to get the night started. Thee Attacks strode on stage, ready to warm up the audience for what was going to be a really crazy evening. Channeling the essence of 1950’s rock’n’roll infused with some classic blues, Thee Attacks were a hit with onlookers. It was a truly an energetic set, but it was just a stream compared to the rapids that were coming.

After Thee Attacks cool performance, something that you wouldn’t normally see at a gig appeared out of the shadows, something’s dark and mysterious, sly and cunning, strong and agile with other worldly reflexes. That something’s or someone’s were The Hives very own ninjas and they were setting up the tools needed to put on an incredible show. Then everything went dark, and with that one by one came five Swedish musicians in black Mariachi suits followed by a warm welcome from the audience. The powerful drumming from Chris Dangerous begun followed by the deep bass lines of the stand-in bass guitarist, and then came the lightning guitar of Vigilante Carlstroem. The brothers Nicholaus Arson and Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist paraded on stage next, with the voice of Pelle awakening the Phoenix to a big “Come On” followed by “Main Offender”. After an unbelievable start, Pelle talked to the crowd about the band’s romantic relationship with the city of Toronto. He explained that the last time The Hives were in Toronto they married it, and all the citizens of the city were their children. The audience loved the fact that they were a love child of The Hives. Just before the encore a very familiar guitar hook travelled throughout the Phoenix causing the venue to explode with pure happiness, the song was of course “Hate To Say I You So”.

Crowd surfing, head banging, and moshing were a necessary requirement for the fans, however nobody thought that sitting on the floor was a part of a Hives show. During “Tick Tick Boom” Pelle got the crowd to part like the red sea, then he told everybody to sit down as he walked through the human corridor. Then the chorus came and Pelle did a death-defying stunt, trying to get back to the stage not being crushed, luckily he made it. The glorious night was ending, as The Hives finished their last song, “Patrolling Days”. Everyone said their last goodbyes and it was clear that no one would ever forget this night.

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