Alex Jones

Queens of the Stone Age @ Manchester Arena

Manchester Arena was left floored by Josh Homme and the boys’ enthralling performance as they smashed through their setlist in enjoyably-chaotic fashion.

The floor of the arena was swarmed as countless QOTSA fans surged to the front, hoping to gain as good a view possible of the legendary rock act. I was lucky enough to nab a spot at the front myself before supporting band BRONCHO took to the stage. The band were admittedly an odd choice for Queens’ support, as their style is far from the headliners’ hard-hitting, heavy rock music. Yet, with confidence the American indie rockers wasted no time diving into their set as they played some of their most well-known tracks, including Class Historian, It’s On, Try Me out Sometime. The audience certainly seemed to warm to the band’s unique brand of indie after some initial hesitance, and this was largely due to their interesting stage presence. Lead singer Ryan Lindsey spoke quite a bit between songs, though not a single word was intelligible. This added to their charm however, and each member of the band had their own distinct fashion sense, be it decked completely in denim or in a long coat.

The curtain dropped, and at 8:45pm Queens of the Stone Age finally hit the stage and kicked into a stomping anthem from 2013’s Like Clockwork, If I had a Tail. Josh swaggered around the stage with the confidence of a rock star who absolutely knows they’re at the top of their game, drinking out of cups probably filled with his bev of choice. The band then played their early 2000s classic, Monster in the Parasol, before Josh declared with absolute conviction “It’s Saturday f*****g night”, despite it being a Sunday evening. He elaborated to mean we should act like it is, encouraging us to get drunk, high and take our pants off in a constant state of partying. The band then proceeded to play heavy-riff orientated songs such as My God is the Sun, recent hits from their new album Villains such as Feet Don’t Fail Me and the boogie-rock single The Way You Used to Do.

The mosh pits then went into a frenzy as guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen jumped into the opening chords of their signature song No One Knows. This was huge highlight as it featured impressive two-minute long drum solo not featured on the original recording, showcasing drummer Jon Theodore’s immense talent before the band suddenly jumped into to perform a thrashing rendition of the last chorus. After this outstanding renditions of both old and new hits were played including Regular John and The Evil Has Landed.

“I’ve gotta admit…I’m drunk.” Was the cheerful admittance from Josh that followed these songs. While this was not much surprise to many of the audience who have seen similar stumbling from their mates after a good pre’s, it was still quite a reveal. He then went on to admit how his alcoholism had cost him close people in his personal life, an extremely poignant moment that the crowd listened to intently. After assuring us the rest of the performance would be fine because fortunately “I’m a high-functioning alcoholic”, he dived into I Sat by the Ocean, a sad track about the comforts to be found in drinking after a loss.

Following this, Josh went into a passionate rant about the how no one should ever conform to what is considered normal, which was met with agreeable bellows from the crowd. This led perfectly into a rendition of the protest-influenced belter Domesticated Animals. The enigmatic frontman then lit up a cigarette on stage which he smoked while singing the mellow lyrics of the bluesy love song Make it Wit Chu. Later on the band noticed a passionate guy in the stalls had taken his top off in the heat of the moment, and he subsequently took his pants off as well at Josh’s delighted suggestion. The band then used this guy’s strip as the perfect leeway into their hit Go with the Flow.

The band topped off the night with their stoner-rock influenced belter Song for the Dead, during which their wild frontman kicked an amp off stage in suitably rock star fashion. It was a fitting end to the night, and I don’t think I’ll ever quite see such a recklessly fantastic performance as the one Queens of the Stone Age gave.

Check out the video for The Way You Used to Do below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lw6MZBmY-U

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