KINGBLIND: Music, Art & Entertainment Music News, Album & Concerts Reviews, MP3's, Music Videos, Art / Entertainment and much more!

The Hives, Sahara Hotnights, Reigning Sound

Irving Plaza – NYC July 21 & 22, 2004

Whoever dreamed up this triple bill is a genius. Oh, right, that would be Howlin’ Pelle and Vigilante of the Hives. Those stylish Swedes who have all the superficial trappings of the mod-garage-Brit invasion actually have substance and a depth and breadth of knowledge and appreciation for the genre and its best purveyors. Witness their records, this tour. This was a sold-out two-night stand in New York City that did a lot more than entertain: it educated in no uncertain terms. Consummate entertainers, The Hives put on a show with unlimited energy and enthusiasm. From the opening chords to the last bow, The Hives had the audience wrapped around their fingers and demanding more, more, more – yet they played just about every song they’ve ever recorded, they danced and shook their hips, they dove into the audience, Howlin Pelle climbed over amps and PA’s to get face to face with the audience in the balcony. it was worth way more than the price of admission. If you didn’t want to be in the over-sold-out crowd, you could have hung out in the upstairs bar and watched the performance in the monitors. If you did that, you would have seen that the Hives might have fit right into any 1960’s Ready Steady Go! episode with their matching outfits of black shirts, black pants, white jackets, white string ties and black & white SPATS! This is the key to understanding what the hype is all about. They look better than any band out there these days. But it’s more than being the cutest boys in town. The Hives are students of everything that is and has ever been good about rock music. They learn it, they become it and they throw it right back at you. Nostalgia has never been so much fun. You’ve seen the Fleshtones do this kind of stage show; you’ve see the Woggles do it, too. The Hives pay homage and crank it up a few notches. As a band – take away their pizzazz – they are tight. Pelle is a friendly, talkative and ironic frontman with a baby face atop a young, dancing Mick Jagger. He’s got the moves, and so do all the others. Its a show, that’s right. That’s entertainment of the highest order. The greatest thing the Hives did on these two nights, and on this tour, was bring their idol along to open. That would be Greg Cartwright, whose current musical project is the three-piece Reigning Sound. Cartwright is probably the best songwriter of his generation, and of not just this garage genre, but in popular music all together. His previous group, The Oblivians were among the bands who inspired the Hives to get it together and do it. While the Hives have that show biz performance thing down, the Reigning Sound just stand there and play hard a set of perfectly penned and performed rock songs with a punk edge (or a pop edge, or a country edge. The compositions are flawless; the musicianship is so tight that it can be loose. Greg Cartwright plays ferociously while he is flanked by the sturdy drum n bass rhythm that is equal parts Memphis soul and the best of the overlooked melodic playing of Paul McCartney in the Beatles. The Oblivians made the records that the Hives cut their teeth on, and having Greg”Oblivian” Cartwright start off this night’s music lesson is a gentlemanly tip of the hat and homage. Music lesson number two: Girls Can Rock. Swedish girl group Sahara Hotnights followed the Reigning Sound with their poppy punkish rock songs. Backed by a solid and powerful beat, the Sahara Hotnights performance is something you might achieve if you could get Debbie Harry to front the Runaways. This tour is sold out everywhere its playing, but its in your best interest to check it out if you can. And get their early, because the first band has the best songs, and the second band has the best looking members. The Hives have their jive down and their mojo working. Catch it! It’ll make you feel a whole lot better about that younger generation. (Review by Theresa K.- Queen of Rock- NYC, NY- exclusively for Kingblind)