Queens of the Stone Age

RAC Arena

Review Simon Collins


Described by one wag as the “craft beer Foo Fighters”, Queens of the Stone Age have recently gone a tad flat.

Some of the Californian rockers’ froth was lost forever when frontman Josh Homme kicked photographer Chelsea Lauren at a Christmas concert late last year.

While he sincerely apologised for the incident, the 45-year-old father-of- three’s actions cast a shadow over the Queens’ aptly titled Villains World Tour, which ended in Perth on September 12.

But nearly 5000 fans preferred to go with the flow at the hard-rocking band’s first visit since playing a double-header with Nine Inch Nails at the arena four years ago.

Josh Homme during Queens of the Stone Age’s final show of their Villains World Tour. Picture: Duncan Barnes

Homme and his loyal band mates — long-serving guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, bassist Michael Shuman, keyboardist Dean Fertita and powerhouse drummer Jon Theodore (who unleashed several solos) — still had that old swagger as they launched into the riff maelstrom of 2005 track Someone’s in the Wolf.

The frontman’s vocals were partly lost in the pummelling, guitar-heavy sound. But My God is the Sun off the band’s first Australian chart-topping album, 2013’s ... Like Clockwork, was a clear crowd favourite.

A couple of classics from 2002’s Songs for the Deaf in the stomping glam rocker Do It Again and their biggest hit, No One Knows — which won Triple J’s Hottest 100 back when the station played rock — got the packed mosh-pit churning.

Earlier, Homme had invited seated fans into the standing room at the front, warning security guards that they would be removed if they prevented anyone moving forward. “The rules f...en’ suck,” he sneered.

Josh Homme and Queens of the Stone Age unleashed guitar onslaughts at RAC Arena on September 12. Picture: Duncan Barnes

The second half of the show shoehorned highlights such as Smooth Sailing, Little Sister and a brutal yet tight rendition of Go With the Flow, while Domesticated Animals from latest album and second Aussie No.1 Villains really hit the spot.

Throughout the show, Homme and Co menaced the stage, kicking over their lighting which bounced back like an inflatable clown. At best it was distracting, at worst it was a clumsy reminder of last year’s controversy.

Earlier, Victorian bluesman C.W. Stoneking and his band, featuring national treasures Vika and Linda Bull on vocals, combined vintage rock’n’roll, vaudeville blues and calypso in front of a paltry audience.

C.W. Stoneking supported Queens of the Stone Age at their Perth concert. Picture: Kane Hibberd

The jaunty Good Luck Charm, swinging We Gon’ Boogaloo and jerky rocker Yield Not to Temptation suggest he could really tear up a tiki bar.

Likewise, Queens of the Stone Age might have benefited from more intimate environs, but — vocals aside — their crushing three and four guitar onslaughts delivered a solid, if not crowning, two-hour rock show.