The Hives perform at Splendour in the Grass 2011 at Woodford.

The Hives perform at Splendour in the Grass 2011 at Woodford. Photo: Michelle Smith

The Hives told the crowd exactly how they'd be spending the first moments of their new year last time the band brought their frenzied, explosive and always unpredictable live set to the Falls Festival stage in 2009.

''You and me Falls Festival, we're gonna have a love child,'' Hives frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist assured the crowd who, by most accounts, were not let down.

Thousands had stayed for the Hives set at midnight at the Lorne festival, despite an unseasonable cold snap and a downpour of rain.

But even the coldest Victorian night becomes a blistering, sweaty, one inch punch of punkish fervour when the Hives take to the stage.

It's their frenetic energy - the twirling guitars and mics, the possessed eyes, the spitting, the thrashing kicks, and the trademark hilarity of the band's back and forth with their hyped crowds - that has seen them described as the best live band on the planet.

The Hives' on-stage antics continue to set them apart from other stale and lifeless live rock performers.

''We always worked hard on it, we always thought that we were kind of better than a lot other bands,'' guitarist Nicholaus Arson says.

''There's a whole lot of bands that are pretty good live but they don't acknowledge the fact that there's a crowd there,'' he adds.

Playing to new audiences and winning the respect of new fans has helped to maintain the band's energy over nearly 15 years of solid touring.

''We've always done something to attract new fans,'' Arson says.

''We're doing a tour in the US with Pink, for instance, which is something out of the ordinary, it's maybe something we wouldn't do,'' he says. ''But it's something that we think is fun, because it's something else … it's moving into an arena where you've got a tonne of people who have never heard about you before, and we really like that.''

The Hives will play both Falls destinations, Lorne and Marion Bay, and the Southbound Festival in Western Australia, with a host of sideshows to boot.

The band will bring with them a host of tracks yet to be delivered from an Australian stage. Their latest album, Lex Hives, was released in June after a five-year wait. It stayed true to the band's fast-paced, raw, and in-your-face sound that has won them a huge following.

The Hives' set at Falls will be their third at the festival, and Arson has promised another wild night.

''A new year, what the hell, it might be fun,'' he says.

''You can tell the Australians that things are back to normal now, the Hives are on the top of the world again, and we're coming back to blow some arse cracks.''

The Falls Music & Art Festival is celebrating two significant milestones this year, the 20th anniversary of Lorne and the 10th anniversary of Marion Bay, Tasmania.

Falls Festival

WITH: The Hives, Flaming Lips, Hilltop Hoods, Boy & Bear, Angus Stone, Two Door Cinema Club and many more.

WHERE: Lorne, Victoria (Dec 28 to Jan 1) and Marion Bay, Tasmania (Dec 29 to Jan 1).

TICKETS: Lorne (sold out); Marion, from $193 + bf at oztix.com.au