Josh Homme and his Queens Of The Stone Age opened their Villains tour at Auckland’s Logan Campbell Centre last night, proving that bone-crunching, riff-driven guitar rock is still alive and well.
It felt like the coldest night of the year so far, as wind and rain whipped fans in the face as we trudged across the car park and into the venue. A bit ironic since the last time I saw them at the Logan Campbell, it was February (2011) and the venue was so hot that I had trouble seeing because of the constant stream of sweat pouring in my eyes.
The band took the stage at 9:10 and quickly wiped away any thoughts of the inclement weather and they dived headlong into My God Is The Sun.
I should point out that these days the band consists of long-time multi-instrumentalist Troy Van Leeuwen, keyboard player and occasional guitarist Dean Fertita, bass player Michael Shuman and new guy, drummer Jon Theodore.
Of course Josh Homme was front and centre, with an electric guitar strapped on and looking every inch “The Ginger Elvis” as he performed a few hip swivels before the first song and ran a comb through his hair.
It was clear from the beginning that the band was in fighting form, sounding fresh and energized.
After Monsters In The Parasol, they stopped briefly while Homme told us, “It’s so fuckin’ wonderful to see you”, before kicking into the one-two punch of Feel Good Hit Of The Summer and No One Knows.
Feel Good Hit featured a bit of Amy Winehouse’s Rehab and Homme rocked out, playing his guitar behind his back as the crowd sang along.
After No One Knows, Homme took a few more swipes with his comb and announced, “Now that that’s out of the way it should be smooth sailing.” And it was.
With new album Villains still a month away, the set concentrated on older material, but new song The Way You Used To Do was definitely a highlight as was the other new one performed, The Evil Has Landed.
Josh apologised for the length of the latter suggesting we should blame Troy if we didn’t like it. That was never an option as the tune sounded as good as anything the band has done.
Homme took to the electric piano for The Vampyre Of Time And Memory, darkening the mood a bit, then reminisced about the time the band played at Auckland’s Big Day Out back in 2003 and the power went out, forcing the group to perform on a smaller stage later in the evening.
We were then treated to Make It Wit Chu. Another late highlight was the primal, visceral version of Sick, Sick, Sick.
The riffs continued…the set ending with Go With The Flow. It was a one-song encore, as Homme was having problems with his voice. Nevertheless A Song For The Dead rocked relentlessly, sending fans back out into the cold, feeling much more adrenalized than when they entered.
Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk:
Queens Of The Stone Age set list:
- My God Is The Sun
- Monsters In The Parasol
- Feel Good Hit Of The Summer
- No One Knows
- Smooth Sailing
- Burn The Witch
- Misfit Love
- The Way You Used To Do
- If I Had A Tail
- The Vampyre Of Time And Memory
- Make It Wit Chu
- You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire
- First It Giveth
- Sick, Sick, Sick
- Little Sister
- The Evil Has Landed
- I sat By The Ocean
- Go With The Flow
- A Song For The Dead