Pop Break Live: The Hives with Kate Clover at The Belasco in Los Angeles, CA on November 14 and 15, 2023
In case any rock fan in the world managed to miss the news, The Hives are freaking back. After an 11-year hiatus, the Swedish based rock band known for their tremendous live shows have released their fifth album this year, The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons. Lucky for us, the band are making their way across the United States in promotion of Randy Fitzsimmons, and completely blew the roof off Los Angeles’ Belasco Theater downtown for their first show across two nights.
Before the Hives took the stage, LA-based artist Kate Clover warmed up the audience in the best way. With an old school garage rock sound akin to Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Strokes, and even the Kinks, Clover and her band were the perfect pairing for the Swedish rockers. Clover dressed in a cherry red and leopard print suit while her three-piece band all wore black suits. Her newest record Bleed Your Heart Out, which came out last year, itches the scratch of anyone a fan of Joan Jett and good old fashioned rock music.
After Kate Clover’s tight 30-minute set, the Hives took the stage with as much vigor and energy as anyone who’s seen them live before would expect. Even walking out to a funeral hymn (fitting for their album) gave away quickly to more than an hour of relentless rocking. The crowd was packed with Hives fans dressed in matching black and white suits, holding up records and signs, and trying to show up as the great audience The Hives demanded. Just before jumping into the infectious “Walk Idiot Walk,” lead singer Pelle Almqvist announced to the crowd that he’s heard bad things about crowds in Los Angeles and was hoping this audience would change that perception. By the new track “Rigor Mortis Radio,” crowd participation was through the roof and Almqvist’s hopes became true as he crowd surfed over them.
Throughout most of The Hives’ set, it felt like the Belasco’s tiny stage could barely contain the band. Pelle Almqvist and his guitarist brother Niklas jumped, climbed, and danced their way across the stage with ease, walking over amps, barricades, and even fans to get into the crowd. “Go Right Ahead” and “Stick Up” saw Pelle turn an amp on its side before leaping off of it while Niklas towered over the front few rows, guitar swinging around his body. In what can only be seen as a power move in 2023, both brothers asked the crowd to keep their phones in their pockets and just enjoy the next song “or else.” That song turned out to be probably The Hives biggest hit, “Hate To Say I Told You So,” yet somehow practically all phones were hidden away as the band and crowd equally became unleashed.
For anyone who hasn’t seen The Hives live before, or isn’t even sure who The Hives are, there is no greater decision you can make than witness this band in action. Their songs sometimes feel like they were created in a lab to elicit the perfect singalong or choreography for a rock band to play to. As the band – all dressed in black and white suits that sneakily lit up in the dark – tore through “Countdown to Shutdown,” “Come On,” and “Tick Tick Boom” to close out the show, it felt undeniable how much energy, attention, and heart they put into both their music and performance. Even after more than a decade’s absence, the Hives have barely missed a beat when it comes to delivering for a crowd. And the greatest gift we can give them in return is to show up too.