Queens of the Stone Age are a band that continue to go from strength to strength. The band have been active in the music scene for more than 20 years and there isn’t many who could argue their place amongst rock and roll royalty. I had the absolute pleasure of seeing them live as they stopped by the Hordern Pavilion on the back of their Splendour In The Grass appearance, and they pulled all the right punches in one of the shows of the year.
With their 7th album ‘Villains‘ due to be released next month, Australia was lucky to witness a pre-release tour, with sideshows in Darwin, Sydney and Melbourne before their headline set at Splendour. The Sydney leg was held at the Hordern Pavilion on Wednesday night, selling out tickets within minutes. A band of this calibre deserves a much larger venue, so it was a real treat to see them in a somewhat smaller venue. Having last toured Australia in 2014 on a co-headlining tour with Nine Inch Nails, Queens treated fans to a setlist that spanned their entire catalogue.
Opening with the somewhat odd choice of ‘Turning On The Screw‘ from ‘Era Vulgaris‘, it’s immediately obvious that the band haven’t skipped a beat during their downtime. The band plays with a precision and aggression that just can’t be beaten. Frontman Josh Homme is on point from the get-go. The way he commands the stage and demands attention from the crowd whilst still managing to tear it up on guitar needs to be applauded. Before the crowd has a chance to breathe, ‘Monsters In The Parasol‘ closely follows and the crowd is in a frenzy. Fan favourite ‘Little Sister‘ soon follows and it’s already clear that the show has exceeded expectations already.
One of the reasons why Queens are held in such high regard is the musicianship. Bandmates Troy Van Leeuwin, Dean Fertita, Micky ‘Shoes’ Shuman and absolute madman Jon Theodore (best known for his animalistic drumming on The Mars Volta’s ‘De-loused In The Comatorium’) are all such perfect musicians and each member contributes in their own way throughout the night. Van Leeuwin is such a pleasure to watch. He adds so much class to the guitar parts, switching between lead guitar, lap-steel and 12-string throughout the night. Theodore is as crazy as ever, getting to showcase his chops throughout the night on various cuts – none more so than the well-known ‘No One Knows’.
What I love most about Queens is how little is needed to put on a fantastic show. A simple light show, no backdrop, no gimmicks – just good old rock and roll. Songs like ‘Sick, Sick, Sick’, ‘You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire’, and ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer‘ just don’t need it. The songs are strong enough to stand on their own – and when Queens bust them out, the crowd knows exactly what to do.
Closing with the obvious but completely perfect ‘Songs For The Dead’, the whole band puts everything into the final piece before waving goodnight. It’s a perfect set, a flawless performance and one of the best shows I’ve seen.
Queens Of The Stone Age are in a league of their own. They aren’t slowing down, so if you’re not on board – get on board.
Queens Of The Stone Age, Hordern Pavilion, Wednesday 19th July 2017.
- Turning On The Screw
- Monsters In The Parasol
- Little Sister
- The Evil Has Landed
- Smooth Sailing
- I Sat By The Ocean
- Sick, Sick, Sick
- Feel Good Hit Of The Summer
- If I Had A Tail
- Burn The Witch
- The Vampyre Of Time and Memory
- Make It Wit Chu
- The Way You Used To Do
- My God Is The Sun
- You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire
- Go With The Flow
- No One Knows
- Songs For The Dead