The Hives 'Go Right Ahead' and rock

Singer Pelle Almqvist of The Hives performs onstage during day 3 of the 2012 Coachella Valley Music...

Singer Pelle Almqvist of The Hives performs onstage during day 3 of the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 15, 2012 in Indio, California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP)

Jason MacNeil, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:12 AM ET

TORONTO - Swedish garage rock group The Hives will go only as far as vocalist Howlin' Pelle Almqvist takes them.

Make that Preachin' Pelle.

The quintet, touring behind their new album Lex Hives, made quite a spectacle late Tuesday evening before a sizable crowd at Toronto's Sound Academy. But like the image of a deranged puppeteer behind them (and ribbon emanating down to the stage from his fingers), Almqvist is the proverbial straw stirring this high-energy sonic drink.

Despite the rapid-fire blasts of sweaty, seedy punk rock which began with the minute-long Come On!, The Hives sauntered on stage dressed to the nines in top hats and tails. From there Try It Again took over as a roadie dressed like a ninja played shakers in the background.

“Toronto scream!” Almqvist said, a common coax throughout the 17-song, 90-minute set. When not addressing fans as “Toronto-ese” or “Torontoans” Almqvist had the crowd clapping between songs, stating they were “applause vampires.” And he gave the show “five out of five” just two songs in.

Between these almost evangelical-like screeds about rock and roll, The Hives managed to squeeze a lot of oomph from the new album, whether it was the garage-rock vibe of Take Back The Toys or the rambunctious 1000 Answers where Almqvist finally removed his hat. These new tunes meshed fairly well with older favorites such as the beefy Walk Idiot Walk and Main Offender, the latter with Almqvist glad-handing in the front.

Although the shtick might become tiresome for some, part of The Hives' allure is their knack for mixing humour with chops thanks to drummer Chris Dangerous along with guitarists Nicholaus Arson and Vigilante Carlstroem (yes, all stage names!).

“I think you got more than you paid for already,” Almqvist quipped early on, adding the remaining hour would be a “Christmas bonus.”

Perhaps the only downside might have been waiting for the biggest present in their signature Hate To Say I Told You So from 2000's Veni Vidi Vicious which didn't come til the encore. Yet probably the biggest highlight of the night was the main set's closer Tick Tick Boom.

Here Almqvist asked if “the state of Ontario” allowed music after midnight and if the fans' internal organs could handle more rock and roll. The song also included more ninja roadies, this time escorting an enthused fan offstage away from Almqvist. But that would be just a teaser of what shortly ensued.

Parting the audience and walking down the clear path, Almqvist got nearly everyone to sit down while giving praise to NHL Hall of Famer Mats Sundin. Even the traditionally stoic Maple Leafs captain would've been hard pressed not to boogie to It Won't Be Long, Go Right Ahead and the finale Patrolling Days.

In the end The Hives definitely left their fans in the state of Ontario wanting more.

Setlist

Come On!

Try It Again

Take Back The Toys

1000 Answers

Main Offender

Walk Idiot Walk

My Time Is Coming

No Pun Intended

Wait A Minute

These Spectacles Reveal The Nostalgics

I Want More

It Won't Be Long

Die, All Right!

Tick Tick Boom

Go Right Ahead

Hate To Say I Told You So

Patrolling Days


Photos