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By photojournalist Dave Moto

Swedish Icons “The Hives” crossed the Atlantic earlier this week to open the American leg of their new tour here in Florida at the awesome Jannus Live in downtown St. Pete Monday night.

The band flew in a few days early to soak up some of Florida’s beautiful weather. They left home with winter already in full effect and seemed to be enjoying some still hot weather. The guys took advantage of the extra time though and decided to help some local talent out.

I was super excited to be invited to a very personal experience with the band on Sunday. Jim Chambers, owner of the Music Box in Tampa, a very unique music school for young adults that offers everything from music lessons to grooming for the music business had the band show up for some one-on-one time with his students. Some of Jim’s notable graduates include local talent Sick Hot and Summer Hoop. It was an amazing experience and priceless for his students. Hats off to both Jim and The Hives for sharing valuable lessons that they have all learned from over 20 years at the top level of the business.

Showtime Monday night and I felt like Florida was showing off for the guys with a perfect cloudless and LOW humidity night. A surprising Legion of fans showed up to catch a rare Stateside performance from the guys. The band has been voted #1 live act by countless critics and publications over the years. 5 minutes into the show it was apparent why. The band, Howlin Pelle Almqvist on vocals, Nicholaus Arson lead guitar, Vigilante Carlstroem rhythm guitar, Chris Dangerous drums and The Johan and Only on bass spent more time in the air than the entire US Olympic gymnastics team!! The guys were all decked out in all white matching suits and black bow ties. What you expect to hear, you do not. A hard Grunge Punk style music is the best way to describe the music. With 5 studio albums and countless hits, every song was the crowd’s favorite. Most notable was probably their most well-known American hit “Hate To Say I Told You So”.  The band gave a solid sweaty hour and a half show that left us all exhausted!!

I am fortunate that my job allows me to see a lot of bands live. I can tell you though, this was one of the best stripped down live shows I have ever seen. No pyro or special effects, just hardcore music from 5 guys who obviously still love what they do!!