Photo by Andrew Distant
As Dune Rats take the stage to warm up the crowd before headliner The Hives, one thing is obvious: these dudes are really, really high. After jamming through the first few songs of their set with relative ease, (with help from Sean Caskey of Last Dinosaurs holding it down on bass guitar duties) the set later results in Sean and drummer BC spitting beer in each other's faces without missing a beat.
The guys launch into a clumsily executed half cover of 'Blister In the Sun' that falls apart after about a minute. Danny shrugs, laughing, and says "Fuck we're shit at that." It's probably my favourite version of that song I've ever heard. That's the thing about Dune Rats, they can take a venue as grand as The Tivoli and still give you the vibe that you're getting stoned and rocking out with some mates in someone's garage.
After enough time to duck out for a smoke and grab a few drinks, The Hive's ninja roadies leave the stage, (seriously their roadies are Ninjas, it's awesome.) the house lights come down and the P.A starts blasting out some grand and menacing classical piano music. Drummer Chris Dangerous, dressed to the nines in a top hat and tails is the first member of the band to strut out on stage, followed quickly by the remaining Hives. Front man Howlin' Pelle Almqvist is last on stage and bursts out of the wings just in time to grab the microphone and launch into 'Try It Again', an older song that hasn't lost any of it's punch. Launching himself about the stage, whipping his microphone stand around like a demented tango dancer and busting out more jump kicks than Jackie Chan, Pelle is one of the most entertaining front men in the business.
Whirling through a set of old favourites as well as highlights from the band's newest album Lex Hives, it's clear this is a band that loves what they do, and they do it very, very well. About halfway through the show during some between song banter, Pelle supposes that he has "about 60% of this crowd ready to do exactly as I say." As the band starts to play the lead single 'Wait a Minute' from Lex Hives, Pelle interrupts his band, cutting them off to ask the crowd who already know the words to sing the intro of the song for them. This prompts a massive sing-along right from the front row to the top of the balcony. By the time The Hives unleash crowd pleasers 'Walk Idiot Walk' and 'Hate To Say I Told You So', they have the whole venue in the palm of their hand. Final proof of their puppet-mastery is asking everyone in the venue to sit on the floor before the massive final chorus of 'Tick Tick Boom.' As the first Hive's gig of the year they have set a massive standard for themselves. Any other band playing The Tivoli this year is going to have a hell of a time trying to top this show. How do you beat a gig that has a ninja playing the tambourine?
Lisle Kelly- AAA Backstage