Music: Hives of Activity; THE SONIC RAMPAGES OF THE HIVES HAVE CAPTIVATED ROCK FANS EVERYWHERE, BUT THEY CAN'T COMPARE TO THE ONSLAUGHT OF IGGY POP
Byline: GAVIN MARTIN
The British music scene is still reeling from the short, sharp- suited, shock rock delivered to it by The Hives. This time last year, the band, who are all in their early twenties, was barely known outside Fagersta, the small Swedish town west of Stockholm where they'd honed their musical attack since their teens.
Now, they've sold a quarter of million albums here and regularly play to packed venues. Their immodestly titled album Your New Favourite Band - actually a Best Of collection culled from previous Swedish releases - is also shooting up the Hot 100 across the pond.
Like any rock 'n' roll success story, The Hives' popularity has been down to timing. Their uniform style and comical names (Vigilante Carlstroem, Doctor Matt Destruction, Chris Dangerous, Nicholaus Arson, Howlin' Pelle Almqvist) make them the perfect rockers for the Pop Idol generation.
When Kylie waggled her rear to their Main Offender signature tune in an advert for Agent Provocateur underwear, their profile received a huge boost, but Almqvist says it's self-belief and determination which ensure The Hives' supremacy.
"Even when we were playing to eight people in Fagersta we knew we would be famous," he says. "Everything we do is about discipline. We give 100 per cent."
Their choreographed show, sonic rampages and bouts of instrument trashing guarantee audience mayhem because showmanship is a dying art among our home-grown rockers. "It's good we're over the top because most English bands are so boring," brags Almqvist.
The Hives are back in the UK for some live dates, but their patented brand of havoc is in danger of being overshadowed by the arrival this weekend of the legendary Iggy Pop.
Ever since he emerged from a Michigan trailer park to form The Stooges 35 years ago, the man christened James Osterberg, now 55, has been on a one-man search and destroy mission. Iggy's shows were once riots of violence, and albums such as Fun House and Raw Power went to the furthest extremes of rock fire and frenzy. With a drug intake that would have felled a buffalo, it's a miracle he lived to tell his tale. …