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The Hives/Eagles of Death Metal @ Mayan Theatre, 9/25/08

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"The Hives have rocked stadiums of 40,000 or more! You 1200 people should present no problem...," bombastically declared Hives' frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist to the Mayan Theatre crowd last Thursday night (9/25/08).

While the statement is both egotistical and brash, Almqvist was entirely correct (and with names like Dr. Matt Destruction, Nicolaus Arson, Vigilante Carstroem, Chris Dangerous and the aforementioned Howlin' Pelle, you'd better be able to back it up). The Swedish imports rocked the Mayan, and left no doubt to their dubious claim.

Relentless in in their 90 minute set, The Hives played a brand of punk rock that recalled the energy of the Sex Pistols or Iggy and the Stooges . In between songs Howlin Pelle gave praise to, well, himself unabashedly. Almqvist's banter held the swagger and posture of the finest frontmen of days past, at one point declaring, "My heart is beating hard, and my knees are weak, not because my band The Hives just completely rocked each and every one of you, but because I am in love -- In love with Los Angeles!"

The crowd jumped and rocked to hits "Walk Idiot Walk", "Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones" and "Main Offender." But the Mayan was quite near, "blown to pieces," as Almqvist predicted, with the current single, "Tick, Tick....Boom." Almqvist and his Hives brethren are a joy to watch on stage, clad in matching black-trimmed white suits (which were ultimately removed by each member as their sweat level dictated), vamped and mugging through each song, while Almqvist strutted and jumped vigorously from each area of the stage before making his way into the crowd.

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The double bill night was a pure rock affair as The Eagles of Death Metal, joined on drums by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, brought their brand of 70's style, crotch-rock to the show, wicked moustaches and all. When they debuted a few years ago, their name and overall demeanor suggested they were somewhat of a joke band. However, while they may ape the style of 70s rock, they are in fact a sincere outfit that knows how to put on a show. Opening with the Stones-esque rocker "Don't Move (I Came To Make A Bang)" Hughes and Co. proved to be the perfect opening for the Hives and the perfect fit for a night of true rock.