Look, I don’t make the rules. But the rules clearly state that if THE BEST DAMN LIVE BAND ON THE PLANET decide not to play D.C. on their tour, but they are playing Philadelphia on a Saturday night, well you gas up the car and hit the road. So that’s what we did, trekking north to the City of Brotherly Love to catch Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, Nicholaus Arson and the rest of The Hives on the opening night of their all too brief US tour.
For this jaunt, The Hives teamed up with fellow Swedes Refused. Philly was the only East Coast date (on May 18) for the appropriately named Swedish Scream Team Tour, which mostly sticks to the Midwest.
The show was everything you’d want from The Hives, except for the very late 11:30pm stage time. Clad in black slacks and white suit coats, the band wasted no time tearing through a crisp one hour set featuring hits like “Hate to Say I Told You So,” “Walk Idiot Walk,” “Main Offender,” and “Tick Tick Boom.” They also played some new music, including “I’m Alive” their first new song in four years.
Stream “I’m Alive” by The Hives on Spotify:
HPA was in fine form, jumping around the stage like an absolute madman, crowd surfing during “Hate So Say…” and blessing the crowd with his trademark wit. “This is the City of Brotherly Love? Well, we’re The Hives and we’re from kick-ass rock ‘n roll city, and you’re not.” Nicholaus Arson held it down on stage right, providing an endless amount of monster riffs While flinging guitar picks into the crowd. Chris Dangerous and Vigilante Carlstroem were smashing in their customary roles and bassist The Johan and Only (aka the second best bassist in the world) fit right in in the continued absence of Dr. Matt Destruction.
Refused, the other half of the Scream Team, took the earlier co-headlining slot and also played a new song for the first time ever on American soil — a song titled “Blood Red.” It was preceded by an impassioned speech from lead singer Dennis Lyxzén about the need for equality in American and around the world. He then noted that the band were playing as a four piece for the first time since 1995 because their guitarist Mattias Bärjed (formerly of The Soundtrack of Our Lives) was denied a visa.
Both bands seemed to be excited to play with each other. They both noted from the stage that it was the first time they had toured together in 21 years. The Scream Team Tour runs through the end of the month.