Tuesday 23 January 2018

ROCK

Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE

THE O2, DUBLIN

Modern rock 'n' roll has become a pantomime of heritage acts and relentless nostalgia. The darkly innovative path pursued by Queens of the Stone Age offers a genuine alternative. They look like the last gang in town. A mob who are mad, bad and, quite possibly, very dangerous to know. This raucous band from the Palm Desert in California is also fronted by a ginger giant who looks like the kind of guy who has probably done a deal with the devil.

Sure enough, singer Josh Homme did actually nearly die when some routine knee surgery went horribly wrong. Homme did survive to turn 40 this year, but he sports a lean look and shows off an infectious hunger to rock out that befits a man half his age.

Queens of the Stone Age are touring their sixth album and first US number one record Like Clockwork. Opening with a 30-second countdown, they blast out of the traps with the beautifully titled 'You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire'. It is a sense-shuddering wall of noise, but still possesses a keen sense of melody and a bouncy pop dynamic beneath the hard-rock veneer.

Initially, the light show and massive video wall is absolutely blinding. The retina-blazing intensity calms down somewhat, even though the decibel count doesn't.

'No One Knows', from their third album Songs for The Deaf, sends the crowd completely wild. Josh Homme recalls the last time he played in Dublin and how an enthusiastic fan gatecrashed the tour bus. When he was ejected from the coach, the rabid fan chased the band all the way back to the hotel. Homme reveals that he was eventually rewarded for his persistence with a few drinks at the bar.

The mosh pit is going absolutely crazy. Homme pleads for the security staff to calm down and allow people to sit on each others shoulders. "You can take pictures and record the whole show if you want," Homme says. Despite the absence of cameos from Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys on 'Kalopsia' and Elton John on 'Fairweather Friends', the new material from Like Clockwork sounds colossal.

They dip further into the dark corners of their back catalogue with 'Make it With Chu' and a blistering 'Sick, Sick, Sick'. The final song 'A Song for the Dead' features an absolutely ferocious drumming performance. Even though the mighty Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame plays on the original studio version, somehow John Theodore betters it. It is a fitting end to a terrific gig that will be fondly talked about for years to come.

Irish Independent

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