Levitation Review: The Hives

My priorities for Levitation were simple. Take photos, vibe to Nation of Language, get melted by A Place to Bury Strangers, get in the middle of it for The Hives. I am happy to report that my mission was accomplished.

Ah yes, The Hives. White suits, energy overdose, hits, jams, cathartic chaos…

Along for the ride on the closing night of Levitation were Pussy Gillette and The Mystery Lights. I saw old friends, made new ones, overshot every band and loved every minute. Click on through for more thoughts on the night and all the photos. Yes, I got mic stand shenanigans, crowdsurfing guitarists and the iconic jumpshot.

Let’s start with The Mohawk. Thank you for being clear about your policies around Covid; we felt safe and partied harder because of that.

Pussy Gillette featured costumes, sarcasm, slightly awkward banter that was also charming, big riffs and an appropriate amount of swearing. Banana Suit on drums, Smoking Skeleton Man on guitar and Lady Blackula on bass and vocals shredded hard early. It was a no nonsense set of rock and or roll. Their record lands 11/19, look for it.

The Mystery Lights drew the short straw of the slot before the headliners. There are times when the opener out-energies the top spot on the bill; these guys tried their damnedest. They left everything on stage, red-faced and devilish. It was a set that earned new fans, given the crowd was there for The Hives. Fred Durst was standing next to me in the crowd and he nodded approvingly. The Mystery Lights probably fit the festival the best, the foundational elements of garage-psych coming through every note. “I’m So Tired” left an earworm jamming.

The Hives. What do want from me here? I mean, push the button and hope for the best. There wasn’t a song that wasn’t greeted with raised hands. There wasn’t a rock cliche left unused. Pelle is an ageless wonder, leaving on the stage, feeding off the crowd. Nicholaus is equally mental, albeit slightly tethered by his guitar, but still trust falling into the crowd way early in the set. Wall to wall, several ticks and a boom…

I decompressed by hanging with homies at Empire for a minute. That last photo is Andrew from many-a-band lounging in the living room installation and photo op like skeleton-faced 50’s dad. That TV is worth a fortune, BTW, allegedly a sought after movie prop.

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