The Hives are so slavishly devoted to showmanship, the plugs stuffed into frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist's ears stick to the band's black-and-white color scheme. Last night at New York's tiny Studio at Webster Hall, the Swedish five-piece wore top hats and tails to hype Lex Hives, their upcoming album, which Almqvist confidently pronounced, "You love." While the rest of the band worked wonders with four chords and the occasional loogie, Almquvist was busy mastering his own instrument — the crowd, of course. Pelle finished crooning soulful new track "My Time Is Coming" and struck a Jesus pose; later he divided the room like another Biblical figure. The new songs the band performed speak for themselves — laser-precise garage-pop bangers, many of which feature phrases repeatedly comically ad infinitum — but only Howlin' Pelle can speak for the Hives. Here are the 15 most awesome things one of the greatest frontmen in rock said. And if you haven't seen our photos of the Hives shopping for Mariachi outfits, you are missing out.
"Everybody please take a picture. I'll smile, and you can walk out after that. I'll fucking pose right now. And now, put those cameras away and dance. If you don't want to do it for me, do it for yourself."
"Fuck you, boo man, I'll boo the shit out of your face." (In reply to a fan who reacted poorly to hearing the subsequent song was from The Black and White Album)
"Did you all buy a ticket or did you get one from someone famous or important?"
"You are extremely dry, ladies and gentlemen." (In response to Nicholaus Arson's proclamation that one should "Never trust a band that doesn't sweat," or an audience that doesn't sweat.)
"This song is about me, possibly, it's called 'Walk Idiot Walk.' "
"Clap and scream while I drink some water or I'll kill you."
"I thought this was going to be all fun and good and shit, but I realized this stage is not nearly big enough for my ego. There are four other people up here."
"When I ask a question, yeah is the correct answer. What's your favorite color? What's the square root of 34? Do you love the Hives? More than you love your mom and dad?"
"Silence is not invited. Silence is not on the guest list. Silence didn't know anyone in the music industry who could get him in tonight."
"It's something when five very handsome and talented Swedes from the countryside can come to New York and teach you about rock'n'roll. This rock'n'roll band is really something, isn't it?"
"We will not be held responsible for any lost, stolen or broken teeth during this next song." (Which was "No Pun Intended.")
"Nicholaus Arson is so dedicated to rock'n'roll, he passed out during the last song."
"Feel my hand, this is some heat right here." (Offering his hot hand to the crowd.)
"Anyone not a mute, scream."
"Moses, eat your heart out."