On the hottest day of the year, the hottest ticket in town would be The Hives playing The Fleece in Bristol. As the 450 lucky punters crammed into the old venue in anticipation of seeing the Hives up close and personal for the first time in many moons they kindly wedged in this intimate show amongst their support slots around the countries football stadiums ahead of their new album due this August. As the Swedish superstars hit the stage in their wonderful new suits the fun kicked off with huge grins as the near-perfect sound was cranked up and away we go!

In the one hour the band were on stage they managed to wedge in no less than five stonking new tunes beginning with the barking ‘Bogus Operandi’ before launching an all-out aural and visual assault on our senses with the magnificent ‘Main Offender’ which led straight into ‘Walk Idiot Walk’ and I paused for a second to appreciate how many awesome songs these Swedes have in their arsenal.

The banter from Howlin’ Pelle was, as always top notch as he introduced the most excellent ‘Rigor Mortis Radio’ the frantic bop of ‘Good Samaritan’. ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’ sounded super tight (as you’d expect) but it was the new songs I was excited to hear and ‘Trapdoor Solution’ was an instant classic and exactly what I wanted to hear from the Hives in 2023 but then ‘Countdown To Shutdown’ might just have topped it with that dirty Garage Bassline thumping the band on to play harder, faster and more intensely The Hives were on fire tonight and it was fantastic to see them in such tight confines the last time I saw them was pre pandemic in a field with about 90,000 people and of course they were awesome that night but this was special.

The conquering heroes leave the stage briefly before returning to finish the job and knock out an encore of impeccable quality with ‘Come On’ followed by the epic ‘Tick Tick Boom’. They were done, no more, take a bow and get out of dodge leaving the crowd wanting more. the Hives are back and still your favourite band. A new album is coming in August and hopefully, more dates to support it where I will be down the front singing and dancing, ‘Come On’! Ladies and gentlemen The Hives are still your favourite band and on this form who could argue?

Author: Dom Daley