Last Night: the Hives at the Middle East

New suits, new ’staches, new songs — same old vaudevillian showmanship, same old mathematically precise eardrum molestation. At a sweaty, stinky, crushd-tin-box (sorry, we still have Radiohead on the brain) Middle East downstairs last night the Hives lived up to Howlin’ Pelle’s ridiculous tongue-in-cheek third-person boasts — as they always do, even if the shtick starts to wear thin somewhere around two-thirds of the way in. They managed to race through 18 songs — old and new — and almost as many Hives-are-law rants in just over an hour. Highlights: a crushing rendition of “No Pun Intended,” one of the best songs on the beyond-underrated Tyrannosaurus Hives; the one-two punch of two ten-year-old songs, “Here We Go Again” and “A.K.A. I-D-I-O-T,” both of which totally hold up; bassist Dr. Matt Destruction’s facial expressions. Lowlight (yeah, just one, really): opening and closing with songs from the new album, which, upon a scant two listens, isn’t immediately turning our crank like Veni Vidi Vicious and T. Hives did. Random thought: Is Chris Dangerous the best punk rock drummer ever? Oh, and someone over at LemmingTrail just posted the audio. Setlist and photos here.

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