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Friday, November 15

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« Wavefront Music Fest, Day One - No Drop, No Love? Review: Brendan Benson @ Lincoln Hall, 6/28 »

Review Sun Jul 01 2012

Review: The Hives @ Vic, 6/30

Aside from the Hives, I can't recall ever seeing a punk/garage rock band play while dressed in white tie. To support each album, the Swedish band has been attired in a different set of formal wear. For their latest, Lex Hives, they've added top hats and tailcoats. (Interestingly, white tie is still the preferred dress code for some Swedish academic elites. Is it more about just looking good for the Hives?) But it wasn't the clothing that made the Vic rock on Saturday. It was the ferocious and catchy tunes that made a full house become fervid. It was frontman Howlin' Pelle's hilarious banter and antics. It was a band on their last night of a tour leaving everything on stage, and an audience not letting one ounce of energy be wasted. (As Pelle put it, they'd need to be put on stretchers to get back home.)

The Hives have never had a problem amping up a crowd. Once they hit a stage, they go 100% until the show's over. For an hour and a half from "Come On!" through "Patrolling Days", they played raw and aggressively. There were short trips into the crowd, jumps off the bass drum and amplifiers, microphones (and stands) tossed in the air and, of course, a lot of chatter from their singer. While roadie ninjas set the scene between songs, Howlin' Pelle entertained. Many of his tangents ended with some type of call and response. Most displayed fun-loving hubris and hyperbole related to how great the Hives are. However, along with that arrogance came a remarkable reverence for the audience. Much of what Pelle said (apart from non-sensical diatribes, like Chicago not having enough oxygen) could be boiled down to "You should love us because we're putting on a great show, but we could only put on this show by feeding off of your energy." Late in the show, he commented, "You're still here, which means our job is not quite done." Of course, soon after, he then said that CPD proclaimed there was a potential fire hazard because the band on stage was too hot. (The last time I saw the Hives was in Sweden where, obviously, they spoke their native language. Since my Swedish is very basic, it was very frustrating to not be able to understand Pelle's banter.)

But what about the music? Well, the Hives have a nice catalog of punchy tunes that can be both abrasive and appealing. They played about half of their new album (including "I Want More", seemingly inspired by Joan Jett's "I Love Rock'n'Roll") and scattered in hits from the past, like "Main Offender" and "Walk Idiot Walk" that riled up an already rowdy floor. As usual, the older songs were the highlights with everyone screaming the lyrics. But the new ones didn't lag much since they aren't too far off the Hives' wheelhouse. "Tick Tick Boom" became an audience participation clusterfuck with Pelle asking everyone on the floor level to sit (and everyone in the balcony to stand). It's a song they play almost every night and have more or less perfected with the long static pause and timed rise to feet. Holding off on the new single, "Go Right Ahead" (with a charged riff close to ELO's "Don't Bring Me Down"), until the encore was a good way to energize a crowd late. But it still paled in comparison to the "Hate to Say I Told You So" followup, which was jokingly preceded by a comment about it being the national anthem. It may be the Hives' most popular song and it was certainly one of the most chaotic. Oddly, they then ended with a new tune, "Patrolling Days", that's uptempo and frenzied but not recognized as well for a closer. Still, a minor complaint to a wild night.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

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  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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