Review: The Hives’ Sydney leg of their digital World Tour (28.01.21)

“You’ve seen live streams before, but not like this,” The Hives lead singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist promised early as the Swedish garage rockers tried something a little different with a “Sydney show” last Thursday.

The Swedish five-piece had launched a World Wide Web World Tour with six different dates across the globe including Berlin, London, New York, Sao Paulo, Stockholm and Sydney.

But, of course, they couldn’t travel the world, instead they played six different live stream shows from their secret Hive Manor bunker for six ticketed audiences.

The key to succeeding with this concept, was ensuring it was genuinely different to the numerous live streams we’ve all seen before, given they were asking for a fee.

But anyone who’s ever seen The Hives live knows their shows are already different to the norm, led by Pelle’s charisma and energy, as well as their iconic black and white suits and near-comedic nature. They never take themselves too seriously.

There was more to this live stream, though, with fans able to ring in and talk to the band, vote on song selection and the order of tracks plus send audio messages. There may have only been two or three fans who actually got to speak to the band, but it worked.

Production-wise, the stream was enhanced with a roaming camera offering a different perspective (albeit usually transfixed on Pelle), along with crowd audio effects to offer a real gig vibe, a ninja roadie and the normal illuminated Hives backdrop.

It must be noted The Hives played the show live at 11am Sweden time for the Australian audience, so the initial 20-minute delay could be forgiven before they appeared in their trademark suits and opened with “Walk Idiot Walk”.

After that Pelle greeted the stream with a “gday Sydney, Australia”, one of many of his Aussie-isms utilized throughout to cater to the audience.

The band’s trademark energy was evident on “Main Offender”, before the sound of the ring of an old school phone stopped them with a quirky conversation with ‘Sarah from Australia’ who wanted to speak to drummer Chris Dangerous and request a “special drum solo” which he eventually obliged to.

There was Award-style suspense with the unveiling of the runner-up most voted song, which was “Hate To Say I Told You So”, which got the chatline buzzing and Pelle, now 42, flailing fly-kicks like he was 20 years younger.

Pelle was humorous as always, taking a phonecall from ‘Jazz from Australia’, who was living the unemployed dream, before accepting her request for “Two Timing Touch and Broken Bones”.

As always, Pelle introduced the band with a delayed riff from their newest member, bassist The Johan And Only, during “Tick, Tick, Boom” before signing off as The Hives always do, sweaty and happy, with a cheering crowd, albeit via effects and chatroom clap emojis. It’s hard to nail a live stream or make them unique but this was a decent effort.

THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Find out more about The Hives here

Ben Somerford

Aussie freelance journalist, sports, music, entertainment, top 10 lists. Take beach pics too.

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