03 July 2018 (gig)
04 July 2018
For Queens of the Stone, this is a small venue. On Saturday night they just played to 65,000 people in Hyde Park so the 6000 capacity Eden Sessions venue is like playing a back room in a pub for these boys from palm Desert, California.
The start of the gig has been put back to 9.15 pm this evening due to the footy (They've got it on a big screen up the top) but England failed to get it wrapped up in normal time so it's on to more important matters, the coolest Rock 'n' Roll band in the world are in town....
The tape plays them onstage, Singin in the Rain morphs into the theme from A Clockwork Orange. The band stroll on, all dressed in black, to enormous cheers, followed by Josh to even bigger shouts and applause . Mikey Shoes' bass utters the low dark riff that pulls us hypnotically into Song for the Deaf. What a track to start with. This is what QUOTSA are all about, dark, brooding, hard, repetitive, note perfect and heavy. Josh's sweet vocals both contrast and compliment the beautiful droning noise his band are making.
Sick Sick Sick from 2007's Era Vulgaris picks up the pace a bit before we get a couple from the new album. Villains opener Feet Don't Fail Me is superb. Josh then says " here's a dance number for you " before they kick into The Way You Used To, Mark Ronson's signature is scrawled all over it without defacing the QUOTSA sound.
The band remind us how long they've been honing this sound for with You Can't Quit Me Baby from their 1998 self titled debut. The song sounds as fresh as ever and ends with it's slow guitar riff drilling itself into your head.
At one point Josh picks out a young lad at the front of the crowd with his dad and asks if it's his first gig. He then promises " I'm gonna change your life forever motherfucker " (before apologising to his dad). He means it though!
The one everybody knows, No One Knows is next. Even the partners who've been dragged along here unwillingly start bobbing their heads. A mammoth drum solo drags this modern rock classic out for 10 minutes or so and at some point during the track an extra buzz goes round the audience as we find out England have apparently somehow won a penalty shootout!
Josh waxes lyrical about the amazing setting here at Eden. Us locals and regular visitors take the place for granted but it's good to be reminded of how special this amazing location is. As Josh put it "It's like we're all here together as one giant living organism". He has a point, compared to some gigs, there's not a lot of chat going on while this band are playing. We're engrossed, this is not a band to listen to in the background. Queens of the Stone age pull you in and demand your attention and focus, and they get it.
We get a good cross section of the QUOTSA back catalogue tonight. Some of the obvious crowd pleasers are left out. No Lost Art or First It Giveth, but no matter. Queens have never been a singles band, they don't do filler. Rated R's In The Fade is deep and brooding even without ex co vocalist Mark Lanegan's impossibly low drooling tone, and My God Is The Sun from Like Clockwork is just immense.
Little Sister ends the main set with a bang. They have to return!......after a couple of minutes of doubt, the band come back on. Only for Josh to pick out some early leavers doing a runner along the rear balcony. He calls them out for trying to get to their cars early and says they'll do 2 more songs, but 3 more if they stay. With the pressure of the band and several thousand other pairs of eyes on them they stay put, and so they should, this place isn't great to make a swift exit from but it's not worth missing one minute of this set just to get home half an hour earlier.
Josh's cool chat and banter keeps us laughing in-between songs, including roasting some guy for some between song heckling who Josh lovingly names Derek, before the whole crowd starts chanting "Derek Derek". " This song is for my new lover Derek" before ordering his band to "Hit it Boys". Go With The Flow has the whole place jumping. I must mention the vertical bendy light pillars that litter the stage tonight which Josh bends and kicks every now and again. These massive vertical pillars just add to the impressive light show here tonight, which is backed up, like nowhere else can by the dome lights flashing in time.
The unmistakable dentist drill of a riff from Song for the Dead fills the arena before thundering drums and noodling guitar licks are accompanied by the deep moaning demonic backing vocals of this mammoth of a track. The song is mesmerising, dirty, hypnotic and beautifully dark, and a perfect set closer for what has been a breathtaking performance.
I've been to a lot of the Eden Sessions over the years, some great quality acts and superb peformances have gone down here, but for me this this is miles ahead, it's only company being the Pixies a few years ago.
Whoever secured this booking for Eden deserves some kind of medal. How are you going to follow this one next year guys? We await with eager anticipation!