Queens of the Stone Age live at Edinburgh, Usher Hall (4 stars)

Live review – Queens of the Stone Age

Raw, powerful, hard hitting heavy rock from Josh Homme and Co

Josh Homme is Queens of the Stone Age, the founder, benign overlord and only constant member for the last 20 years. And even though there are four other musicians on stage, it's hard to take your eyes off the ginger Elvis. He's the epitome of rock'n'roll cool, all greased back quiffs, curled lips and hard riffs.

But before Homme and Co swagger on stage, Broncho are an intriguing warm-up act. At first Ryan Lindsey's high pitched vocals grate, but their retro new wave punk is strangely moreish. You could easily imagine them soundtracking a club scene in an 80s horror flick, like The Lost Boys or Fright Night.

Villains is probably QOTSA's slickest album to date. Produced by Mark Ronson and eschewing the usual special guest stars (2013's … Like Clockwork featured everyone from Elton John to Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor), it's the band in full-on party mode. It gets a solid airing tonight with seven tracks, the groove rock stomp of 'Feet Don't Fail Me' hitting particularly hard. But it's the stone cold classics from Rated R and Songs for the Deaf that really resonate: an explosive 'Monsters in the Parasol'; the feral roar of 'You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire'; the funk rock blast of 'Go With the Flow'; the doomy majesty of 'A Song for the Dead'; while the entire crowd sing back the riff to 'No One Knows'.

The Usher Hall has increased its programme of rock gigs in recent years, but it still feels weird witnessing a genuine mosh pit and crowd surfers in such a grand venue more suited to classical concerts. But Queens' music is so raw and infectious, happy to exploit any rock cliche for a good time; Troy Van Leeuwen even straps on a double guitar for 'Fortress', 'I Appear Missing' and 'Villains of Circumstance' and we get two meaty drum solos from Jon Theodore during sprawling renditions of 'No One Knows' and 'A Song for the Dead'. Still, it's Homme's night. He's the perfect host, imploring us to lose our inhibitions and live for the now. He sums it up perfectly: 'We came to drink and dance, we hope you wanna do the same. We just set the tempo.'

Seen at the Usher Hall, Thu 24 Nov

Setlist
'If I Had a Tail'
'Monsters in the Parasol'
'My God Is the Sun'
'Feet Don't Fail Me'
'The Way You Used to Do'
'You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire'
'No One Knows'
'Regular John'
'The Evil Has Landed'
'Leg of Lamb'
'Fortress'
'Smooth Sailing'
'Domesticated Animals'
'Make It Wit Chu'
'I Appear Missing'
'Villains of Circumstance'
'Little Sister'
'Sick, Sick, Sick'
'Go With the Flow'

'Head Like a Haunted House'
'I Think I Lost My Headache'
'A Song for the Dead'

Queens of the Stone Age

Josh Homme brings his hip'n'heavy rock'n'roll band round again.

Finsbury Park, London N4

Sat 30 Jun 2018

£58.50

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