Monday, August 24, 2009

Naught To Be Outdone: LiveJournal, part 1

As a relatively young music fan, I naturally did not start actively listening to/consuming/obsessing over music until this decade had already been quite underway. The naughts, consequently, entirely shaped my taste in music. My experiences as a concertgoer perhaps contributed to that shaping of taste more than anything else. Since the first show I went to in 2003, a handful of concerts stand out as especially important to my life as a music fan; performances that caused something to click inside me; shows that screamed, "This is what music is. Find more of this."

December 2nd, 2004. The Hives.
2004 was an important year for this founder of Pretension and Perk: I took my first steps away from 70s punk and into modern music. It took a few heavy hitters to make this happen, though. First off, Modest Mouse's "Float On" broke into the mainstream. Then Interpol's Antics showed me a more fun and accessible kind of post-punk. And finally, Franz Ferdinand set a new standard for the pop-rock album with their self-titled debut.

That last one is what led me to Camden, NJ's Tweeter Center on December 2nd. The Y100 "Feastival" boasted a mediocre lineup headlined by Good Charlotte and Jimmy Eat World, but the promise of my newest Austrian archduke-named obsession was too good to pass up. Franz, as it turned out, had not quite mastered their stage presence yet. But I didn't leave the Tweeter disappointed.

For a group of Swedish rascals in black and white suits made it their duty to completely annihilate the ears of the Good Charlotte-adoring teeny boppers that had made their way to Camden that night. But the Hives managed to maintain proficiency in musicianship despite their raw, ferocious energy. Today I know this is not exactly a rare feat, but when this group was surrounded by the lackluster performances by Jimmy Eat World, Silvertide (one of the worst shows I've ever seen), and Franz Ferdinand, I couldn't help but be amazed.

While the band churned out balls-out garage punk song after balls-out garage punk song, frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist combined Jagger-esque stage moves with obnoxious, self-deprecating egotism into something all his own. The unbridled conceit and undeniable swagger of Almqvist left a young me completely enthralled. He simply refused to accept that anyone could think that The Hives were not the greatest band in the world. I certainly wasn't going argue. I hardly can today.

And I promise, I left 3 songs into Good Charlotte's set.

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