Gig Review: QOTSA

After a long and cold wait, finally inside this vast new arena, we happily and protectively assumed our positions on the front barrier which fully justified our early (admittedly keen) arrival at the venue. The support act was Troy Van Leeuwen’s side project ‘Sweethead’ although he did not play with them on the night. The female fronted 5-piece specialise in ballsy and awfully predictable rock music, it’s by no means bad and as a support act their musical clichés and Serrina Sims’ sparkly purple catsuit do enough to render them entertaining. Sadly it would be a stretch to say that Sweethead are a band that are particularly exciting or revolutionary but if you like your rock straight up and brash check out ‘The Great Disrupters’ from their self-titled debut album. As the audience grew so did the whistles and cheers that consumed the arena in every lull between every song being played over the P.A, and it was with a frantic anticipation that the crowd waited for the real party to get underway. Bang on time at 8:50 PM the lights dimmed and Glasgow’s newest and biggest indoor arena erupted.

Watching Josh Homme swagger on stage a few seconds after the rest of his band mates is a glorious moment to behold. He exudes a sense of total cool that is usually reserved for people that are dead and immortalised in iconic photographs and films, but there he was; an Icon, and one of the coolest men in rock n’ roll. Ever. The back drop is a massive screen which pulsates with cinematic animations by Queens’ resident artist Boneface throughout the set and the lighting sweeps around the venue, atmospheric soft lighting to strobes with every change of tempo. But this monumental stage set and oiled production does not undermine the immediacy and musicality of their set. In many ways it acts purely, as it should, as a compliment to the songs something which many bands struggle to do immediately when they make the transition to arena shows. Queens of the Stone Age are no strangers to big crowds, but this International arena tour is certainly a step up in venue scale. However, the band have effortlessly adapted to their new surroundings and manage to create an incredible intimacy with the crowd right from the off, shouting “we just came to get your drunk, high and stoned”. Throughout the set, Josh’s voice soars and falters in all the right places, Jon Theodore’s drumming is flawless and the plethora of instruments, guitar sounds and effects used by Schuman, Fertita and Van Der Leeuwen is overwhelming to watch. They are one of the slickest and most confident bands I’ve ever seen and it’s not just the groovy dance moves, crocodile skin boots and suits; tonight QOTSA came to say they’re one of the biggest rock bands in the world. And they did it resoundingly. Their set spanned their seventeen years of existence and while almost half of the set was taken from ‘…Like Clockwork’ they also drew heavily from ‘Songs For The Deaf’, ‘Rated R’, ‘Lullabies to Paralyze’ and ‘Era Vulgaris’.

They opened with slow builder and the new album’s opener ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’ before smashing into the back catalogue of hits with the breathless ‘You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel like a Millionaire’ and the ever iconic ‘No-One Knows’. Every song feels fresh and sounds absolutely huge, even the ballads are performed with a raw and heavy undertone and their mid-set jam half way through ‘Better Living through Chemistry’ is incredible as guitar solos and drum fills wail and rolled out from the stage. Known for their exuberant and fun live shows, Queens of the Stone Age certainly did not disappoint, finishing with a brutal encore of ‘The Vampyre of Time and Memory’, ‘Feel Good Hit of the summer’ and ‘Songs for the Dead’, they left everyone exhausted, revitalised and more importantly ready to party. The only perceivable disappointment was that they didn’t play for more than the 2 hours that they were allotted but for now we’ve had our latest hit of QOTSA.

Until next time…

Words: Leo Bargery

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