The Hives – Reading Festival 2012 review


“C’MON!” Ah, Howlin’ Pelle, it’s been too long. It may be a while since The Hives were seen round these parts, but they’ve not taken a new shoegaze direction or anything in the intervening years. In fact they’ve not taken any kind of new direction at all, save for their new top hat and tails look (try and imagine a vaudeville punk rock Bullingdon Club and you’re not too far off).

There are no complaints about any of that as ‘Main Offender’ starts off though, with everyone in the Radio 1/NME tent partying like it’s 2002.Pelle’s grand pronouncements are almost as good, with the pick of them when he delivers the band mission statement for the day: “We’re here to wear you out – some of you will want to cover your eyes, some will want to put cotton wool in your ears. The rest of you? I’m proud of you!”

‘Walk Idiot Walk’ has lost none of its urgency, and while ‘My Time Is Coming’ may start as a kooky, baritone-led waltz, it eventually builds up the kind of punky fizz-bomb that’s become their stock-in trade.

Talking of which, when we are urged to stand for our National Anthem, we think the band might be playing up to Post-Olympic patriotism. Not so, of course, it’s instead the cue for ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’ and for the crowd to become a frenzy of pogoing and singing along.

A closing ‘Tick Tick Boom’ sees the band freeze like statues for a couple of minutes, as the crowd scream their name. Luckily once things reach fever pitch, they re-animate to finish the song. While Madame Tussaud’s may one day come calling, they can afford to resist their advances while they’re still on this kind of form.

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