Queens of the Stone Age, Finsbury Park review: Josh Homme's band conquers a difficult venue

Band blast out their gnarly brand of accomplished desert rock at a festival blighted by huge queues and heavy-handed security

Ben Walsh
Monday 02 July 2018 09:54

“I wanna suck, I wanna lick/ I want to grind and I want to spit,” spews out the laconic, 6ft 4 frontman Josh Homme on highlight “If I Had a Tail”, from Queens of the Stone Age’s deliriously successful 2013 album ...Like Clockwork.

From the “right” angle (essentially directly in front of the stage) QOTSA are a giddy experience, but it doesn't pay to stray too far to the sides at this fiendishly challenging venue where the beers queues are monstrously long (there are up to 90-minute waits), the site hugely congested, and security heavy handed.

At least Homme - who last year kicked a photographer during a concert in LA - is in a cheery, engaging mood; the 45-year-old even throws out a birthday call-out to his young bassist Michael Shuman and yells “Louder, sing it for me. I love you all...“ on ”No One Knows“. Be in no doubt, this is Homme's band.

Before QOTSA blast out their gnarly brand of accomplished desert rock, there's Iggy Pop. The typically topless septuagenarian tears through his brief, 12-song set, which kicks off with the lascivious “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and ends with “Gene Genie”, his old pal David Bowie's glam-rock stomper. In between there's the hedonistic anthem “Lust for Life”, “The Passenger” and “Search and Destroy”. Iggy doesn't look (the torso remains impressive) or sound much different to the last time I saw him here in 1996, supporting the Sex Pistols.

QOTSA enter the fray an hour later and while the sound quality is a little washed-out the Californian sextet are a well-drilled proposition, with drummer Jon Theodore impressive, the riffs beefy and Homme's vocals robust.

Highlights include their most recognisable (and finest) track, “No One Knows”, the blistering “The Way You Used to Do” (with the memorable lyric “Is love mental disease or lucky fever dream/ Fine with either) and a compelling two-song encore - ”Songs for the Deaf“ and ”Songs for the Dead“ - from 2001's Songs for the Deaf.

Ultimately, Homme's swaggering Queens conquer any demons and venue conditions tonight in suitably muscular fashion.

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