Queens of the Stone Age have become my villains, through the latest album ‘Villains’ and the latest show at Manchester Arena. Villains to rough edges, villains to noise, villains to anything that you can’t, uh, play on the radio.
The stoner rock band, do they still go for that term?, played all the hits, they have a full career of them after all to make up a full set after all. Everything was so smooth, Josh Homme was having a real good time, he even took a smoke on stage for the most rock n roll moment of the night (it’s illegal to do such a thing in the Arena, but Josh don’t care). It was all ‘Smooth Sailing’ from beginning to end, and the Villains material goes with the flow of everything that came before, the irritating buzzing ‘The Way You Used To Do’ aside, for the heavier weirder numbers were given the sack till the final moments with ‘Sick, Sick, Sick’ and ‘Song For The Dead’. All in all a solid show, but one that was certainly safe, safe, safe.
You see, Josh Homme, the front man of Queens of the Stone Age is happy. He’s happy with life, he’s made an album to dance to, and he doesn’t want any of these negative, dark, miserable shit that consists of the majority of the career in his set. I said the whole set was smooth, but that was more a backhanded compliment, for where were the rougher pieces, the moments which put the band into the hard rock pit? ‘Someone’s in the Wolf’ used to be a mainstay in the set lists, and most of the Songs For The Deaf songs played sounded neutered, besides that drum solo hijinks on ‘No One Knows’. There are many angles to Queens of the Stone Age, but we only got to see one.
You had to be in the same mindset and forget about a past of experimentation, of dirty, sexy dark pieces of heavy desert rock. That side is dead, just enjoy the hits, just have a good time, just forget about it, let Josh Homme make corny jokes about Manchester which tie into song titles. If you can’t get on board with that, they can’t be your heroes, only villains. And I still haven’t lost my headache from hearing ‘The Way You Used To Do’ attempt to drill such a mood into my head. I need droning sax, I need sludgy metal, I need battery acid to feel like I belong here, because… ‘I appear missing’… These aren’t the Queens I’m looking for… I can do this all night.