Words by Mick Radojkovic
Light and dark, hard and soft, good and bad. There are two sides to everything and everyone. That little cupid vs angel sitting on your shoulder also rests on the shoulders of your heroes, your idols and, of course, your villains.
This was the Villians tour for Queens of the Stone Age, a name befitting the lead singer, Josh Homme after a year he might like to forget since his run in with a photographer nine months ago. We’ll get to that later, because the crowd, having been warmed up by the swinging rock of CW Stoneking were primed to catch another run of QOTSA, who performed at the same venue just over a year ago.
On a rare wet evening in Sydney, on the last day of winter, Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain, was the warm up track. Interesting choice, but so was the title track from A Clockwork Orange that came next. We got a sniff early that this would be a set for the old-school fans. Regular John, the first track from their debut album was the opener. The trademark raw power of guitar and drums kicking off a huge set.
The stage lighting on the opening track too, shining light between each side of the faces on the stage, creating a contrasting ‘two-face’ effect. In fact, the lighting for the whole night was impressive – bendy poles protruded up from the stage, lighting up at key moments, giving the band something to hit and use as a make-shift slide on their guitars.
The sound (and Homme) seemed muddled early, with the lead singer’s voice sitting low in the mix. On his first mic break, as he accidentally tangled himself in the mic lead, he exclaimed, “I’m not that fucked up, I can do it!” It’s all part of the enigma of the front man – the dangerous swagger, the occasional comb through the hair combined with effortless guitar skills and that smooth-arse voice of his. We danced to The Way You Used to Do and everything seemed to click into place. Tracks were pulled from all of their seven-album discography, including the rarely performed Misfit Love from Era Vulgaris, and Rated-R’s, In The Fade.
After My God Is The Sun, one of the highlight tracks of the night, Homme took to the mic. “I’ve made mistakes. You have to let it all go. You can’t drag the bag into the future. I’m for letting go.” Without much context, this may seem a strange comment, but it’s good to see some sort of acknowledgement from a man that has never played by the rules.
The Evil is Landed, gives us a chance to appreciate the musicianship and tightness of the band. They are a well-oiled unit, from the ridiculous drumming chops of Jon Theodore to the dancing bass of “three-year old” Michael Shuman, they don’t appear to miss a beat, even when Homme is prowling the stage.
Even the show had two sides with a distinct change of vibe in the latter half of the set, as the band almost labour through two six-minute plus songs in I Appear Missing and Villains of Circumstance. They pick it up again with Little Sister followed by crowd-favourite, Go With the Flow, rounding out the main set.
Returning to stage with a cigarette (which he casually tosses over his shoulder), Josh Homme declares, “I’m a little tipsy, I’ll let you decide,” indicating the last couple of songs to play. The front of the sold-out crowd, who have been packed in tight and moshing hard, yell out their preferences before they dive into an encore of Make It Wit Chu, You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire and an epic rendition of A Song for the Dead. Homme started getting loose in the final track, kicking over a lighting column on the side of the stage along with pushing the hanging speaker stack, causing it to sway. It’s a glimpse into the volatile side of Homme that has divided people over his career.
The last track’s lighting, rocking intensity and last-gasp moshing epitomised a massive two-hours of solid rock music. Even after more than twenty years in the game, the group still remain as potent as ever and while they’re still releasing quality albums, relevant.
FINAL SHOW – PERTH UP NEXT!
‘For two solid hours, the Californian-bred band played hard and loud. They played with energy and with class. They delivered the kind of rock show that would make a teenager want to start a band.’ – Double J
‘Homme stood at centre stage, leading one of the world’s great rock bands’ – The Australian
‘Thoroughly electrifying‘ – The Age
‘One could argue the band are in the strongest shape they’ve even been‘ – Hysteria
Seven shows in and Queens Of The Stone Age’s massive Australian tour is in full swing!
Joshua Homme, Troy Van Leeuwen, Dean Fertita, Jon Theodore and Michael Shuman have already absolutely smashed it at shows across the country while on the last stop of their epic Villains World Tour, wowing critics and fans alike at shows in Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Hobart – with Melbourne fans treated to an amazing show last night.
For Tassie fans, it was something extra special. QOTSA performed an exclusive, intimate one-off acoustic performance at Mona’s Nolan Gallery – and now Frontier can reveal that the show generated over $20,000 in funds, to support Hobart’s Royal Hobart Hospital Paediatrics Ward. It was, said a hospital rep, “A fantastic donation and [is] much appreciated”, staff noting they will use the funds to enhance the environment for patients in their new Paediatric and Adolescent Units.
Says Mona music curator Brian Ritchie of the special show:
“Mona’s communications’ networks nearly imploded due to unprecedented demand for tickets to this bespoke charity event. Punters drooled at their good fortune to hear world class rockers in the rarest of environments, The Nolan Gallery. The music throbbed, but there was a higher purpose, generating income to support Royal Hobart Hospital Children’s Ward.”
The day after the show, the band made a special visit to the hospital – dropping off presents, and presenting monies to staff, and showing their support for a city close to the Josh Homme’s heart. He even took along his mother-in-law and Hobart resident, mum of his wife Brody Dalle-Homme. What’s more, Homme also made a personal donation to the hospital in addition to the gig funds, via his charity ‘The Sweet Stuff’ – a charitable organisation formed by Josh, his father, and brother back in 2013.
The reviews are unanimous: these shows are amazing. Don’t miss QOTSA on their last three gigs in Australia – Melbourne tonight, Adelaide on Sunday, and Perth on Wed 12 Sept!
For more information, head to frontiertouring.com/qotsa.
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
VILLAINS WORLD TOUR AUGUST & SEPTEMBER 2018 Presented by Frontier Touring
Perth on sale now and selling fast!
Wed 12 Sep Perth | Perth Arena (All Ages)
with special guests C.W. Stoneking and The Chats ticketek.com.au | Ph: 132 849
Check out all the photos by Josh Groom below –