The Hives - Manchester Academy - 9.2.02

Welcome to the Swedish invasion!!! After 12 months of the American onslaught of the White Stripes / Strokes / Andrew WK its time to look back to our native Europe for the next great white guitar band. Poptones may be a poor mans Creation but if anything can turn round the labels fortunes it comes in the form of the black shirt / white tie rock & roll machine of the Hives. Its ironic that as several "cool as f**k" indie kids are out on the streets aping their manufactured rock heroes they would die laughing at the fact of nearly 9 million people voting between pretty boy Gareth Gates and wobbly jawed Will on Pop Idols.

Before the main event though are two notable supports acts. First up the Sahara Hotnights take the route marked Kenickie / the Donnas / Angelica and rock like only girls can - harder and faster than the male of the species. Its also helps that one of them happens to be dating one of the Hives. Randy on the other hand are just about the biggest joke to hit a stage near you with the sort of retro sub-Silversun Elvis Costello influenced indie pap once relegated to local band nights.

Believe the hype - The Hives are just about the best guitar band to hit these shores in the past 5 years. "Hate To Say I Told You So" is perfection crystallized on vinyl and while the rest of the Hives material may fall short this energy is all you need. Delivering the total package and realize that why should you spend so much time in the studio if you're going to walk on stage with casual slacks. With the exception of frontman Pelle you get the feeling that if a member of the band wanted to leave they'd simply be replaced with a younger, better looking model. Its all about the finished product and everything else is incidental.

When Pelle states "We've played four songs in our repertoire now, I suppose you're expecting a slow song now" you know instantly he'll reply with "Of course not, were the Hives". No introspective ballads from these guys, just grand statements of world domination and ego ready to implode under its own weight of self importance. They're Your New Favourite band. They're Our New Favourite Band. Lets just face its how can you resist the Hives!!!!

Alex McCann

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