The Hives Are Back On Stage Where They Belong – Live Review From The Fleece

As the saying goes: “It’s only champagne of bands if it comes from a small town in Sweden called Fagersta, otherwise it’s just sparkling nonsense”. Do they even need an introduction anymore? Or is it merely a reminder? If you were still wondering, we are indeed talking about The Hives. Who else?

They left the throne for 10 years and we had barely heard from them since their 2012 album Lex Hives… Only a few single releases here and there (Good Samaritan and I’m Alive), as well as the impeccable Live At Third Man Records in 2020, and their World Wide Web tour in early 2021 – a definite highlight at the height of lockdown. No one came to steal their crown, so here they come again just to show us they can.

The Hives @ The Fleece, Bristol 30.05.2023

The Hives @ The Fleece
The Hives @ The Fleece

The Hives are back from the grave, with a new album titled The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons, coming on August 11th. Their newest hit Bogus Operandi came along with new tour dates across the world and while they are on a stadium tour with Arctic Monkeys, they have graced us with four small venue shows in the UK, starting at the iconic Fleece in Bristol (in partnership with Rough Trade) on Tuesday May 30th 2023. And we were there and are now here to tell the tale…

It was not surprising to hear the show sold out within a few hours, and a queue formed at the doors well before 7pm. It had been a few years since The Hives came to the UK, especially with a brand new show… You would probably wonder how The Fleece could contain such a big crowd? Never underestimate The Fleece. This iconic 450-capacity venue, has seen many rock stars march upon the stage and we quickly feel at ease while waiting for the show to begin…

The Hives @ The Fleece, Bristol 30.05.2023

The Hives @ The Fleece
The Hives @ The Fleece

The Hives are known for their high energy, incendiary stage presence. They make their entrance at 9pm sharp to the tune of Chopin’s Marche Funèbre for poor old Randy Fitzsimmons. But once Chris Dangerous sits behind his drum kit, they very quickly transition to Bogus Operandi to watch the crowd go wild. Both Howlin’ Pelle (do we need to tell you who Pelle is?) and Nicholaus Arson (guitar) make good use of those pillars to get closer to the crowd. The tension is now palpable and we can confirm there is no sweeter sound than Bogus Operandi performed live on stage at the FleeceMain Offender and Walk Idiot Walk are next on the list, both rock ’n’ roll classics, which we love to hear again and again.

While having only played for a little over one hour, The Hives gave us a good impression of what the new album would sound like: Rigor Mortis Radio fits the theme and will be a great anthem for Mr Fitzsimmons’s funeral. We get to hear some hits from the past few years like Good Samaritan and Go Right Ahead, which the audience gladly performed with Pelle who has no problem leading a crowd of thousands in a stadium one night, and 450 people in a small punk venue the next. Another new addition on the setlist is Stick Up, which was dedicated to the ladies. The show ends with a mix of classics (Hate To Say I Told You So and I’m Alive) and recent songs (Trapdoor Solution, Countdown To Shutdown), which leaves us thinking… What really happened to Randy? The encore, of course, is Come On and Tick Tick Boom, with an impressive stage dive making that walking on water thing look like an amateur stunt…

The Hives @ The Fleece, Bristol 30.05.2023

The Hives @ The Fleece
The Hives @ The Fleece

Watching The Hives perform in a small independent venue was an incredible experience and a real privilege. For those who did not get to see them in their early days, well there you have them, intact and absolutely perfect. They stayed faithful to their reputation and only brought the best of the best and rocked the roof off the Fleece, leaving us all begging for more… “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is rock ‘n ‘roll” says Pelle, before the stage lights go off… Was there a better way to say it? We don’t think so.

Read more about their brand new album and UK tour dates here.

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Live review and photography of The Hives at The Fleece, Bristol by Pauline Di Silvestro on 30th May 2023

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