In this year’s Coachella lineup, The Hives took the spot its staked claim on — 6 p.m. Sunday.
Well, every 9 years, that is.
“We’re trying to make it a tradition,” frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist told a raucous crowd, then asked them to return in 9 years to see them again.
He called the slot Coachella’s main course. Served hot, after the starter, before the dessert.
What’d you think of your main course? he asked. On a scale, one-to-ten, show me with your fingers.
“Well, that’s a review,” he said, in his Swedish accent, when hands reached for the sky.
These silly questions punctuated The Hives entire set, earning him my (not-coveted) prize for best stage presence of the weekend yet. In his desert best – a tuxedo and top hat, matching his four bandmates — he charmed the audience between mosh-pit inspiring garage-rock tunes.
“We are The F—ing Hives!” he said. “This sh– is real!”
My other favorites:
Do you love me? he asked. Do you love The Hives? Do you love Coachella? Do you love Sundays? Do you love the Sun? “Good,” he says. “Because I am the sun’s closest cousin.” Genetically, he’s as close to the sun as you can get in a human being, he said.
He introduced a track off of The Hives upcoming album – the first in 5 years – called “Wait a Minute.” You’ll see why, he said, because we say “Wait a Minute” a lot. You can say “Wait a Minute” along with us, if you like it. Then – “it’s called singing along do you know what I’m talking about!”
And, of course, the make-believe pre-encore break. They wouldn’t have time, he explained, to leave the stage and come back out. “Pretend that we’re not here,” he said. Then he led the chant himself: One more time! One more time!
The act inspired a mosh pit by song two. Despite my best efforts not to, I kept earning a front-row seat.