Swedish Freeze

No, I’m not talking about the Swedes new practice of freeze-drying dead bodies (bodies frozen in liquid nitrogen, then broken into dust).  I’m talking about a patented move created by The Hives, a garage-rock band from Fagersta, Sweden (what an unfortunate name for a town).  At some point during the show they stop and freeze – the Swedish Freeze.

My friend Paul had tickets to their sold-out show at First Avenue last night.  I really enjoyed the opening band, The Donnas, who last played in the 7th Street Entry 10 years ago when they were 18 (never has a guitar looked so sexy).  They attracted a ridiculously wide spectrum of fans who would otherwise never be seen together in the same room.  Paul had the misfortune of getting chatted up by a 50 year-old fat guy in a wife-beater and a 93X hat.

But, I had mixed feelings about The Hives.  Their gimmick is mock self-glorification.  They said, “our job is to look good, your job is to buy a ticket and make noise!”  Lead singer, Pelle Almqvist and his guitarist brother Niklas Almqvist preened around stage with Jagger-esque scissor kicks, dressed in black and white suits with white shoes.  Both Pelle and Niklas seemed to have salivary gland disorder as they were constantly spitting (at one point Niklas spat on the audience).  They pull off arrogance and condescension like only Swedes can.

Pelle, taunting the audience, said “is the weather that fucking depressing?  Come on, make some noise!”  I hate being told to clap.

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