Concert Reviews

The Hives Brought Rolling Stones Energy to the Granada on Monday

The Hives' singer Pelle Almqvist got up in fans' faces.
The Hives' singer Pelle Almqvist got up in fans' faces. Vera "Velma" Hernandez
It was a smaller crowd the evening of All Saints Day at the Granada Theater. Fans filed in at an easy pace into the venue to the sounds of a garage-surf preshow playlist. The Granada had its balcony blocked, save for the VIP boxes, which went tragically under-attended.

Some audience members were still recovering from post-Halloween hangovers, some were dressed in their very best, all were excitedly anticipating the best-dressed garage punk band in the world, Sweden’s The Hives.

Brooklyn-via-California psych band The Mystery Lights opened the show with a haunted, slow-building guitar track before darkening the stage lights and joining in live.

Kicking off with a sound as intense as if speeding through heavy traffic, The Mystery Lights began with “I’m So Tired (Of Living in the City)” complete with singer Mike Brandon’s kicks and jumps — a feat made all the more impressive by how crowded the stage was with The Hives’ equipment.
click to enlarge The Mystery Lights jump-started the action at The Hives' show on Monday. - VERA "VELMA" HERNANDEZ
The Mystery Lights jump-started the action at The Hives' show on Monday.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez

Fans nodded along entranced by The Mystery Lights’ intricately layered synth and fuzz. Brandon’s whining and wailing voice echoed through the theater space as the crowd began to find the rhythm, dancing by the band’s fourth song “Someone Else Is in Control.”

Though light on stage banter, The Mystery Lights made for a wonderful introductory band for the night’s headliner, with big guitars and a big stage presence.
click to enlarge The Hives wore their black-tie best. - VERA "VELMA" HERNANDEZ
The Hives wore their black-tie best.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez

By the end of their set, the Granada’s floor had filled up, but it was by no means cramped like it was for last week’s IDLES show. Everyone had at least a little bit of elbow room to keep comfortable.

During the break, fans collected outside for a smoke and a breath of fresh air. Those who had seen The Hives before assured first timers that The Hives don’t just play shows, they give performances.
click to enlarge Hey, we have learned that anyone can be made prez. - VERA "VELMA" HERNANDEZ
Hey, we have learned that anyone can be made prez.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez

Meanwhile, inside, men in all black and balaclavas set up The Hives’ instruments to some fast-paced surf rock that cut in and out as they checked sound.

Earlier Monday afternoon, The Rolling Stones' social media posted pictures of Mick Jagger going to places around Dallas in anticipation of their Tuesday night show at the Cotton Bowl. One of those stops must have been to a time machine, because that 1962-Rolling-Stones energy is exactly what The Hives brought to the Granada stage Monday night.
click to enlarge Almqvist is a man of the poeple. - VERA "VELMA" HERNANDEZ
Almqvist is a man of the poeple.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez

Security staff had been told before the show that things might get rowdy, though some wondered if the older audience in attendance would bring it.

The Hives’ bright red neon sign lit up at 9 p.m. sharp to the sounds of a haunted house. That’s when drummer Chris Dangerous pounded the opening drums of “Come On!” The band dressed in white shirts, white coats, black pants and black bow ties. Singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist stood over the crowd, and by the song’s crescendo, the pit had broken out.

During “Main Offender,” Almqvist threw his mic around, capturing the audience’s voices as they sang to every word with fists pumping.

Almqvist spoke to the crowd to remind them that J.R. Ewing married a Swedish woman [Sue Ellen] on Dallas, and assured them that this night they would marry a Swedish man. He then launched into one of the band’s most recent releases, “Go Right Ahead.”

Almqvist gave the fans a test after the song, asking them to sing back the chorus before starting the band’s new fist-pumping banger “Paint a Picture.”

By the song’s chorus, Almqvist had made his way into the first row of the audience, singing from the Granada’s small space for drinks on the barrier.

In anticipation of The Hives’ next song, “Won’t Be Long,” Almqvist instructed fans to put their hands in the air and clap. When those hands went down, Almqvist got them right back with the singalong chorus. Noting that it was the night after Halloween, Almqvist jokingly reminded the audience that being hungover and without energy would not be welcomed in The Hives’ culture. That sent the crowd screaming and bouncing into “Good Samaritan.”

Almqvist was pleased with the response, dedicating the next song to “you and you and you and you” and so forth. As the guitars opened “Walk Idiot Walk,” Almqvist once again got fans pumping their fists, which many maintained throughout the song.

Almqvist took the opportunity to venture further into the crowd, singing from the venue's third barrier before returning to the stage and threatening to climb the lightning rig.

He didn’t. Instead he let the crown scream as he rehydrated and went right into “Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones," when Almqvist let the audience sing the chorus.

The Hives then voted five-to-zero to "mess with Texas" and country-ed up the intro of “My Time Is Coming.” Almqvist sang a cappella before the band came rushing in with breakneck guitars.

To build up their penultimate song, Almqvist exposed his chest and asked that fans from a state where everything is bigger tell all their friends about the show so The Hives could be the biggest band in the world. “Good plan, right?” he asked

Almqvist returned to the center barrier during “See Through Head” and made his way through the left side of the crowd.

When guitarist Nicholaus Arson hit the licks for the rock ‘n’ roll classic “Hate To Say I Told You So,” the audience let go of anything else they had been holding back.

As the crowd clapped in the song’s breakdown, Almqvist stood up on the amp, jumping down to scream with the audience. The song came to a close just 44 minutes in; Almqvist shook the hands of the audience’s front row and said goodnight.

But that wasn’t the end. For three minutes, fans cheered and clapped before the band returned to the stage for a three-song encore, beginning with the slow-burning “I’m Alive” with only the back stage lights lit up.

The lights lifted as Almqvist’s commanded the band to break the audience’s legs during the road rage epic “Try It Again.”

After blowing kisses to the audience, Almqvist and company closed with stadium rocker “Tick, Tick, Boom,” which the audience was all too ready for while the singer threatened to just leave.

Before the song’s conclusion (and really during a very long pause before the final “boom”) fans asked Almqvist to run for governor. Almqvist went into the audience and ordered a beer. He then cleared the path and had the audience sit down as he ran to the stage to finally finish the song.

At some point during all the banter, Almqvist asked the audience how they would rate the show. “Four out of five?” he asked to the sound of silence.

“Five out of five?” he asked to some cheers, and later asking, “Ten out of five?” to a wild, screaming response.

After a show like that, well-put-together and entertaining, who could disagree?
click to enlarge The HIves can jump, too. - VERA "VELMA" HERNANDEZ
The HIves can jump, too.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez
click to enlarge The HIves returned for a three-part encore. - VERA "VELMA" HERNANDEZ
The HIves returned for a three-part encore.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez
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David Fletcher writes about music, arts and culture for the Dallas Observer. You can usually find him at a show in Deep Ellum whether he's writing about it or not. A punk scholar and local music enthusiast, David focuses his attention on the artists screaming in the margins of Dallas' music scene.
Contact: David Fletcher