Queens of the Stone Age are just one of those undeniably cool bands, you know? They’ve been to Australia countless times throughout the last 20 years and they never fail to impress. After seeing them blow the roof off a sold out Festival Hall last year right before latest record Villains was released, I was eager to hear more of the new material live and see the band back in a bigger room.
CW Stoneking were an interesting but very entertaining choice for the tour support. Their southern blues and rockabilly sound set a nice mood throughout the venue. Easing the crowd in before Queens took the stage to lift the energy up tenfold.
The QOTSA set opened strong, with a nice mixture of new and old. The band themselves were on fine form as always, especially guitarist extraordinaire Troy Van Leeuwen and powerhouse drummer Jon Theodore holding it down with incredible flair. It was refreshing to hear cuts from last year’s Villains in a live setting as the songs have a lot more life and energy than on the record. The biggest surprise for me was a lot of the deep cuts and obscure album tracks that made the setlist. Whilst not a bad thing in the slightest for the very committed fan of the band, but I could definitely feel the energy starting to fade through the crowd as they yearned for more of the hits.
I have to admit that I was less than impressed with frontman Josh Homme this time around. Having seen Queens of the Stone over 25 times in the last decade and being blown away, I was quite let down with the way he carried himself. Naturally, he played and sang like a demon, but his sarcastic and pretentious banter between songs was the kicker that left a bad taste in my mouth and seemed to rub a lot of the crowd the wrong way. That aside, the band themselves were absolutely incredible.
In true Queens style, their set closed out with staples ‘Little Sister’ and ‘Go With The Flow’ before they returned for an encore with the classic ‘A Song For The Dead’. After quite the lull in energy, these songs livened the crowd back up and reminded them how good the band are when they’re on form.
Photographs by Owen Jones.