"Due to a rift in the time space continuum it’s been 11 years since The Hives last played New York City," Howlin' Pelle Almqvist told the crowd at Racket. "We didn’t age one bit! We are wise old souls trapped in young sexy bodies."

While now in their 40s, The Hives have not mellowed one bit, and Tuesday's show had all the moves, thrown-shapes, karate-kicks, jumps and other rock n' roll shenanigans you want from a Hives show. And the songs, of course. "We have established that there are a lot of good fucking songs in The Hives catalog," Pelle said with his usual grinning modesty. "I forgot but then I remembered." The band played many of them in their hour-long set, including "Main Offender," "Walk Idiot Walk," "Hate to Say I Told You So," and "Tick Tick Boom," which finished the night.

At this intimate show, one of a couple The Hives played this month in the US, they also previewed a few songs from their upcoming album The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons, including new single "Bogus Operandi," which opens the album, and that -- along with "Rigor Mortis Radio," "Stick Up," and "Trapdoor Solution" -- all fit in perfectly alongside their classics.

Pelle is the kind of frontman who demands adulation from the crowd, constantly commanding us to clap along, cheer, and sing. Not that the folks at Racket on Tuesday needed to be asked -- the whole place was going wild from the jump. His vamping may have also given him some strategic rest periods between frequent jumps off the drum riser and crowd surfing, but it's all part of the act, and The Hives are master showmen. Is there such a thing as a bad Hives show?

An hour is less time than most beloved bands who've been around for three decades, but the get on, get off, leave them dazed and wanting more is a MO that more bands should adopt.

A couple stray observations:

  • The band's lightning bolt suits that are seen in publicity photos and their "Bogus Operandi" video actually glow in the dark, and they made great use of that in moments when the stage would go black during drop-out moments in their songs.
  • At one point, Pelle noticed the sleeves to his suit had gotten pushed up past his elbows, while his shirt sleeves remained at his wrist. "Some fashion has happened to my arm," he remarked. "Feel free to copy it, if you can pull it off."
  • Everything out of Pelle's mouth was pretty much gold. Early in the set, he exclaimed "We’re bringing back the sound of the late-'90s and early-'00s…drum and bass!"
  • Speaking of outfits: their stage crew were dressed as ninjas, which was perfect.

Check out photos by P Squared, the setlist, and great video from YouTuber Smshn🎃Pmpkn below.

The Hives' new album is out August 11, and the band will be back for a full North American tour this fall, beginning with a much bigger NYC show at Brooklyn Steel on October 30. Tickets for that and all dates of the tour go on sale Friday, May 19 at 10 AM.

hives bow racket

SETLIST: The Hives @ Racket NYC 5/16/2023
Bogus Operandi
Main Offender
Walk Idiot Walk
Rigor Mortis Radio
Good Samaritan
Go Right Ahead
Stick Up
Hate to Say I Told You So
Trapdoor Solution
I'm Alive
Countdown to Shutdown

Come On!
Tick Tick Boom

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