SO.CO Team

3 weeks ago

Live: The Hives @ o2 City Hall, Newcastle - 28th March 2024

Newcastle City Hall

Featured Photo

There are few bands that are quite as consistent as The Hives. In the twenty-seven years since they released their debut album, Barely Legal, the number of times that they’ve put a foot wrong can be counted on one hand. Indeed, their biggest crime is leaving eleven years between 2012’s Lex Hives, and 2023’s barnstorming return, The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons. Following a number of show-stealing performances supporting Arctic Monkeys last summer, they’re now taking their show around the UK and Europe.

Bad Nerves @ Newcastle City Hall.

Bad Nerves @ Newcastle City Hall.

Opener Bad Nerves are no strangers to these parts, having supported The Darkness and Royal Blood here recently, and they’ve clearly got a few fans in the audience tonight. Their formula is simple - loud, fast, Ramones inspired angular punk, delivered in emphatic, enthusiastic style. It’s hard not to get caught up on it, and for a city which is notoriously hard on support acts, the packed venue and bouncing pit suggests their trajectory is only going up. They’re certainly ones to watch. 

Bad Nerves @ Newcastle City Hall.

Bad Nerves @ Newcastle City Hall.

If the measure of a band is enthusiasm, then The Hives might just be the best band in the world. It helps that they’ve also got bangers by the bucketload and more hooks than a pirate convention. New album The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons has bucked the trend by actually being a great album by a returning band, and the songs fit perfectly alongside the older tracks, which if we’re being honest, is why the room is packed out tonight. No-one turns out for the new material, but it is testament to the quality of the band’s recent work that it’s often hard to tell what’s new and what’s classic Hives. 

The Hives onstage at Newcastle City Hall

The Hives onstage at Newcastle City Hall

From opener Bogus Operandi, right through to an incendiary closing take on Tick Tick Boom, the band are on fire. Frontman Pelle Almqvist leaps around the stage with the energy of a man half his age, and can often be found sharing sweat with the lucky few on the front row. His rambling anecdotes are becoming the stuff of legend, and the laughter in the crowd as he picks out members of the audience to form Hives franchises “because the world can’t have enough Hives” is a beautiful moment. The connection between band and fans rarely feels this close, and The Hives manage to pull it off every night. 

The Hives onstage at Newcastle City Hall

The Hives onstage at Newcastle City Hall

The Hives are a rare breed (maybe that’s why they need franchises?) and the live experience is all the richer for it. It’s good to have them back… hopefully they’ll stick around for a while. 

The Hives onstage at Newcastle City Hall

The Hives onstage at Newcastle City Hall

Words and photos: Thomas Jackson