The Hives @ O2 Academy Leeds – Wednesday, March 27, 2024

There was no birthday treat quite like witnessing the Hives before 95,000 screaming Yorkshire fans in Leeds on a Saturday night.

You might think that statement is totally bogus, but I’ll have you know on good authority that the Hives said that themselves – twenty times during their raucous set last week. Then again, they also claimed their bassist had a 49,575-degree celsius temperature and was consumed by rock ‘n’ roll, so maybe there was an element of exaggeration that was underlying…..

The Hives

I first heard of The Hives when I was nine years old, at the height of “Walk Idiot Walk” sweeping the music channels of Sky TV on the daily. They stuck with me on and off again throughout my formative years of adolescence. Like an old friend, I kept revisiting then and now, I am not afraid to admit I have jammed “Hate To Say I Told You So” on the reg since 2020 (pandemic lockdowns afforded me a renaissance period of appreciation for noughties bangers).

So, you can imagine my enthusiasm when I heard about the opportunity to cover The Hives on the opening night of their ‘Death of Randy Fitzsimmons Tour 2024’. After all, it was thought the Hives had had their time in the sun, with a wide eleven year gap between albums. That belief all evaporated when they dropped their sixth album in August 2023. Peaking at #1 in the OCC’s UK Albums charts, it was clear there was still a desire amongst the English public to jam along with the Fagersta rockers.

The O2 Academy in Leeds was packed to the brim, with the line consuming the entire length of the former Leeds Coliseum, around the block and then-some. Standing since 1885, the 2,300-capacity venue fittingly resembled a church, and indeed on this tepid March evening, it was like attending church. I noticed a cavalcade of people of all different ages when entering the venue, and after the comprehensive and understandable security checks to be legible to rock, it was time to get ready. That said, there’s nothing funnier than having to remove your hat and give it a good shake to ensure security trust you aren’t carrying any illegal substances.

Samuel Thompson, Bad Nerves

Bad Nerves started cold and finished their set with the sellout crowd all revved up for the headliner. Based out of Essex, the powerpunk rock ‘n’ roll band transformed the O2 Academy Leeds into a portal reminiscent of an earlier version of the Hives.

Bobby Nerves

They fit like a glove in demonstrating from whom they derived inspiration. With bombastic frontman Bobby Nerves oozing with positivity, it was refreshing to watch an up-and-coming band clearly playing the show of their lives alongside the Swedish veterans. It was good to know they were playing with their contemporaries all tour long, at that.

Bad Nerves

The Hives took advantage of the atmosphere established, taking to the stage in preparation to blow the roof off the Academy. Known for always wearing matching black and white suits, the formal dressers sported black suits with white sparks, like electricity running up and down their jackets and trousers. It was impressive to watch, and I can not even bear the thought of how hot they had to be at the end of their ninety-minute set.

The group had the audience with them every step of the way, playing a mixture of tracks from across their discography. As someone who grew up on their older stuff, it was great to hear the hits live, but they also really drove home just how good their more recent tracks are. To an nth degree of perfection, if I closed my eyes at times, it felt like I was listening to the studio versions of their songs all over again.

Pelle Almqvist

It must be noted just how funny lead vocalist (Howlin’) Pelle Almqvist is in his crowd interaction. While exemplary in how a frontman should behave at shows with the constant flailing of his arms, the loudmouth really left an impression with his many quirks and sassy quips in response to the audience’s chants of “YORKSHIRE”. While many foreign bands visiting the Isles often act baffled by what the Leeds public yells, Pelle instead leaned right into it. Suddenly, every song was renamed “Yorkshire”, if anything adding intrigue as to what the next mystery song would be. And it would always be a hit.

What really stood out to me was truly how long the group had been doing this. Older than I have been alive, the band formed in 1993, truly growing in prominence at a time before the stratosphere of social media, and the innovation of Internet fame. Pelle pointed this out as he urged all the people with “camera phones” to take photos of them, and tell their friends to “check them out”.

The heavyweights of rock ‘n’ roll put on a great show that set the stage for what was unquestionably going to be another great tour. As I celebrated my 29th birthday week, this was a heck of a way to spend it, and to use the old cliché: I’d been there, and I’d bought the T-shirt. Would absolutely recommend you seek them out. (“Wasn’t it John F. Kennedy who once said ‘Do not ask what you can do for Yorkshire, but what you can do for The Hives’”?)

The Hives continue to sweep the United Kingdom with ‘The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons Tour’ throughout April, with many shows already sold out! They released their sixth album last August, and it’s full of big hits. Go to for more.

Bad Nerves continue to rock alongside them before taking off to the United States in May. With their second album ‘STILL NERVOUS’ dropping on May 31, you can check out what they have to offer by going to

Photography by Jazz Jennings.

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