Live Review: Queens of the Stone Age @ Margaret Court Arena, 08.09.18
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
LIVE at Margaret Court Arena
08 / 09 / 18
Words by India Weaver
Tickets provided by publicists
Tartan and tattoos were on show at Margaret Court Arena on Saturday 8th September for the return of rock icons, Queens of the Stone Age. Just 15 months after their last Australian shows, the renowned 5-piece recruited The Chats and CW Stoneking to electrify their fans once more.
Straight from showcasing their talent at BIGSOUND Festival, The Chats brought their intoxicatingly Australian brand to the stage, performing their iconic song, “Smoko”. Fascinating the likes of Dave Grohl and Queens of the Stone Age’s front-man Josh Homme, the band attracted a large crowd that warmly welcomed their patriotic energy.
CW Stoneking took to the stage shortly after, transporting the audience from a backyard Australia Day party to a western saloon. Despite his Australian upbringing, Stoneking hoodwinked the crowd into believing he was straight out of a southern state of America. The inclusion of both a strings section and elaborate backing singers were more than what is expected of support acts these days, proving his commitment to creating a cinematic set.
Gene Kelly’s spritely vocals on “Singin’ in the Rain” drizzled along the walls of Margaret Court Arena, creating a false sense of calm. This was soon torn down by the opening riff to “A Song for the Deaf”, which encouraged a strong roar from the crowd that echoed through the songs to follow.
Josh Homme knows who he is and what he can do, and he commands the crowd with barely a lift of his eyebrow. He took to the microphone to demand for the audience to feel safe and free in the space, also inviting members from the seated area down to the mosh. This turned gig-goers’ night into a perfect dream, and the poor Margaret Court employees’ night into an exhausting shift. Homme reinforced his powerful image as both a world-class front-man and somewhat of a villain by reminding security, “you work for me tonight”.
Fans worked their way over the barriers blocked by the remaining model staff members who refused to let Josh Homme be the reason for a written warning or unnecessary meeting. My fellow crowd-members and I used this time to become aware of the absurd amount of tall people surrounding us. This contributed to a “wow, he is tall” count of 10. A conclusion was drawn that Queens of the Stone Age should rename Songs for the Deaf as Songs for the Tall.
The setlist was perfectly tailored to long-time fans and those who owe their love for intricate guitar riffs and exhilarating drum solos to the band. QOTSA moved through the heavier side of their latest release, Villains, and balanced this with a chunk of songs from their iconic record Songs for the Deaf. Whilst there was room for the band to find more of a balance between the lighter and heavier songs in their discography, the crowd seemed to thrive on the constant heavy energy.
A personal highlight for the night was “The Way You Used To Do’’. The complex polka influence and intricate changes in time signatures raised some potential challenges for the live space. With each change in tempo, my heart dropped in anticipation; but without fail there was a smooth transition from pace to pace that was deeply satisfying to witness. Fans expressed their satisfaction with the insane quality of the performance with screams, involuntary body movements and some concerning nudity.
Queens of the Stone Age find a perfect balance between performing their music as you know and love it with the energy and adrenaline of the live space. The night was drenched in the spirit of Villains as both a record and concept. Edgy facial expressions, Josh Homme’s ego, an evil attitude towards security guards and unsanctified guitar riffs created what can only be described as a perfectly enticing hell. If this is what hell looks like, then there are 7000 people who are keen to enter a place where Queens of the Stone Age are the nightly entertainment.
The tight arrangement, performances and setlist workings of a Queens of the Stone Age gig proves that the devil works hard, but Josh Homme works even harder.