Coachella 2012: The Hives demand your love


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From the moment he took the main stage at Coachella on Sunday night wearing a dapper tux and tails and a black top hat, Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist -- lead singer of the Swedish garage-revival band the Hives -- could not stop asking for the audience’s adoration.

‘Do you looovvveee me, people?’ Almqvist shouted, as the crowd hollered its affirmation. ‘I think you can do better, DO YOU LOOOOVVVVVVEEEEE ME?’


More shouting as Almqvist launched himself from atop an amp and into the crowd, singing the band’s 2001 hit, ‘Hate To Say I Told You So.’

COACHELLA 2012 | Full coverage

The Hives played the exact same main-stage time slot -- 6 p.m. Sunday evening -- nine years ago, around the same time they were destroying American fans with devastatingly energetic sets at industry-heavy festivals including Austin’s South by Southwest.

Almost a decade later, not much has changed. The band even looks the same. And Almqvist is still one of rock’s most engaging frontmen -- bringing to mind a young Mick Jagger with the way he struts around the stage with his hands on his hips before suddenly leaping in the air with a scissor kick.

Almqvist is known for his ironically arrogant stage banter -- and with Sunday’s set he proved he has had plenty of time to refine that routine.

‘Do you love the sun?’ he asked the crowd at one point. ‘That’s good because I’m the closest cousin to the sun on planet Earth.’


The women in the audience giggled as his face stared out from the Jumbotron with mock gravity, while a number of bros looked awkwardly down at the grass.

By the end of the show, Almqvist proved that he was right -- the crowd did love him. They loved him and the Hives enough to sit down when he asked them to -- creating a vast ocean of seated bodies, arms flailing like quirky sea-bottom creatures.

Then, when Almqvist demanded it, during the middle of the closing song, ‘Tick Tick Boom, ‘ they leaped to their feet in unison. It was a moment that live festivals are made for.


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--Jessica Gelt