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The Hives have an itch to entertain anyone who will listen

For Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

The Hives are hip and hard rocking -- and not at all who you'd expect to be opening for a pop act like P!nk.

But the punky Swedish quintet is no stranger to these kind of crossovers. It opened a maroon5 tour once, and the group's gregarious frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist says it has no qualms about putting itself in front of potentially unfriendly environs.

"It is fun," says Almqvist, 34 (real name Per Almqvist). "A portion of this audience have never heard live rock 'n' roll before. Most of them have never heard the Hives before. It is the closest thing to feeling like Little Richard in front of his first audience that I will ever get.

"After 20 years and I don't know how many thousands of shows with this band, it's a feeling I cherish more every year -- seeing the poison start to work and the transition from fear to excitement in their eyes. But P!nk doesn't have to worry, because she has a totally different thing -- circus moves and stunt men and dancers and all that."

Almqvist adds that the Hives have had trouble finding arena-sized rock bands to take the group out with them -- "Too much competition, I guess," he quips -- but the silver lining is that his group,m currently supporting its 2012 release "Lex Hives," likes the challenge.

"The thing is, I don't think rock bands are supposed to feel that comfortable," Almqvist notes. "(Comfort) is the enemy. Us doing this is a bit of a stretch maybe, but I am fairly sick of rock 'n' roll snobbism. It is the same mistake jazz made and the reason most jazz gigs are in front of 20 people, the fact that you had to be in with the right crowd to be invited.

"The challenge? I guess we could try to adapt, but our point is that we don't need to. This is an opportunity to play to 400,000 people in 20 days, and enough of them will like it to make it worth out while. We don't compromise."

The Hives perform with P!nk at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at the Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $99.50 general admission floor, $29.50-$89.50 reserved. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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