SLCR #134: The Hives (05/21/2008)

I have no excuse for taking two weeks to write this up. Sure, I’ve been a bit busy, but I’ve been busier in the past. Plus, I actually really liked this show and wanted to tell all y’all about it. But now it is 11:00 p.m., and I have been up since 6:00 a.m., and I didn’t fall asleep until 4:00 a.m., and I have to get up an hour earlier tomorrow so that I can go give away coffee for my work’s new employee network for young employees (of which I am one, sadly, at nearly 32; this company is not exactly youthful). Oh well, volunteer work looks good on a résumé, and showing up at 7:15 a.m. means you get first choice of the complimentary muffins. They won’t have my beloved BRANana chocolate chip muffins unless they’re trucking some in from Saskatoon, but I’ll live. I am young and vibrant and full of life… relatively speaking, at least.

So, the Hives. You know the drill. I heard good things, decided I should see them, and didn’t bother actually listening to any of their music before the show. I had big plans of making myself CDs for the car, but they were sidelined when my internet connection went out for two days. I’d love to blame my ISP/employer, but this one was my own fault – apparently I kicked a cable at some point. Luckily, I did restore the connection in time to download some albums and listen to them each once before the show. I could have done more; these are some short albums. All four combined clocked in at just over two hours.

Over the course of the listening, I discovered that I knew enough Hives songs to fill an EP. Luckily, it would be a very good EP, so there’s that.

I drove straight from Regina to The Odeon in Saskatoon. There are no words to adequately describe just how sick I am of that drive, but on this day, it actually felt alright. This was because I wasn’t carrying anything. Wii Fit (or as I typoed on Facebook, “Wii Fat”) was released that day, and I bought it over my coffee break. I also picked up some rolls of quarters for the washing machines. And I bought a jar of pickles at the farmer’s market. And I was going to Saskatoon, so I had to bring my laptop with me. And Rob wanted me to get him a Tardis from the comic book store. My walk home from work was not fun. I was stiff and sore from Wii Fit and I hadn’t even taken it out of the box yet.

I showed up at the Odeon not long after Mika and pals had arrived. I took a look at the stuff table but didn’t see much of interest. The opening act was apparently named Locksley, judging from the shirts that read “You are cute if you listen to Locksley.” And I did listen to them for 45 minutes or so, but I don’t know if I got any cuter over that time. I should have taken before, during, and after pictures. Locksley were poppy and a bit loud and fun. They played a bunch of songs I didn’t recognize and a few covers that I did (Hotel Yorba by the White Stripes; Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz). All in all, they were pretty good, though I didn’t buy the CD and I would have been happier had it been Hocksley. But you saw that one coming at the start of the paragraph, right?

Between sets, we had all kinds of fun. Not only did I find Rob a Tardis at the comic store, but I also got Dave a pack of mints in a case shaped like the WWE title belt. Sadly, the mints just looked like mints and not Flintstone-vitamin-style tiny wrestlers (and the Lex Express), but they still amused for a minute or two. And then my buddy Wes found us and stopped to say hi. He was enjoying himself this evening. He put his hand on my shoulder and nearly tore my arm clean off. Nice guy. Very strong. I’m glad he’s on the side of good.

While I was chatting with Wes, I don’t know what Dave and Rob were on about. I came back to the conversation in time to hear something about having a deed to your own butt crack. This would certainly make Monopoly more interesting. Mika suggested that even if you had a deed, you couldn’t build so close to a fault line. Could be worse, Dave suggested – it could be a geyser. Ol’ Faceful. I think Rob missed all this. Lucky for him.

We also did a lot of people watching. Mika pointed out a guy who looked like my old passport picture. Dave’s laughter indicated that she called that one dead on.

On that note, let’s discuss the Hives, shall we? Five guys in matching black suits with black and white striped ties, with the name of their band hanging behind them in red neon script. The Hives, I’ve determined, are one of those bands that have their own sound. Their own thing. They couldn’t cover anyone else’s songs, and nobody else could cover theirs. It just wouldn’t be right. Yes, they do their own thing, and their thing is to sing about how great they are. I have never seen such a self-referential band. With songs like “The Hives Are Law, You Are Crime” and “T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.” (sample lyric: “we rule the world, this is our world” repeated over and over), you might think these guys are impressed with themselves. “If I wasn’t in this band, I’d be a fan of us,” said the lead singer.

Well, I’m not in their band, and… their show made me a fan. Wow. Very loud, very fast, and a ridiculous amount of energy. The crowd interaction was near-constant, and they tried everything they could to get people to cheer and clap and just get excited. They took questions from the crowd (that we couldn’t hear) and gave answers (that made no sense). They spent more energy just saying “Saskatoon” than most bands do during an entire set. Of course, they did say “Saskatoon” a lot. I think it’s a funny word to Swedes – or, really, to anyone who isn’t from around here.

Their energy was all the more impressive because the Odeon was once again painfully hot. Not quite as bad as during the Queens of the Stone Age show, probably because the crowd was a little bit smaller (their loss). At several points, fans threw water at the stage. The lead singer did not seem to take kindly to this. I don’t think it was meant to be hostile; it was so hot that it looked like the people in the crowd were just trying to cool off the band. I could be wrong, but I would have been happy to be soaked with water at that point.

They only played for an hour, and I could have gone for a bit more. Though I suppose if we’re being fair, that’s two full albums so I shouldn’t complain. Plus, you can really only keep up that pace for so long, and it’s nice to actually leave a show wanting more. Then we went home, where I discovered I also wanted a bowl of Special K and plain yogurt. Clearly, I just hadn’t had my fill of the rock and roll lifestyle.

Put yer words here:

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