Queens of the Stone Age have always been a band intrinsically linked to sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. Even on record the songs ooze passion and in the live setting, this can often intensify tenfold. Tonight at Wembley, the QOTSA beast is made flesh, intent on making love to and tearing apart any other living creature in the vicinity.
Band of Skulls / Queens of the Stone Age @ Wembley Arena
And what better way to kick off such a night than with Southampton’s finest blues-rockers, Band of Skulls. Exuding a subtle swagger, pulled off with ease due to their songs being so bloody good, the three-piece fill Wembley’s cavernous, shed-like surroundings with riffs galore. Opening with new track ‘Asleep at the Wheel’ is a bold move, but hey, this is Band of Skulls we’re talking about and as expected, it’s a luscious, loud lesson in blues’n’roll that grabs the attention of the crowd from the first note.
Band of Skulls
From here on out we’re treated to ten songs spanning both previous albums including classics like ‘You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Goin’ On’, ‘I Know What I Am’, ‘Bruises’ and ‘Light of the Morning’. There’s little in the way of crowd interaction, but there doesn’t need to be as the songs speak for themselves. A rousing rendition of ‘Death By Diamonds and Pearls’ rounds off the set in a class fashion and if people in the crowd didn’t know who Band of Skulls were before tonight, they sure do now. That said, tonight really is just about one band and Josh Homme and his merry men aren’t known for their quiet entrances. Coming straight out of the blocks with ‘You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire’ and ‘No One Knows’, we’re straight down to business, the QOTSA freight train let loose on this audience who are more than willing to take a direct hit and love every second. With a huge stage show featuring enough red to make a bull blush, we get 21 songs of sheer rock’n’roll brilliance from the Californians. Erring heavily on material from latest album ‘…Like Clockwork’, the set may seem to drag for some of the faithful, used to the raucous nature of the Queens of old, but I can’t help but be drawn in by the utter grandeur of everything. This is passionate music, all fuelled by ringleader Homme, who could probably have everyone in the arena on their knees in seconds. That’s not to detract from the rest of the musicians on stage however, as everything is performed note perfect, but with a power that could never be replicated on CD. Songs like ‘Misfit Love’ and ‘Little Sister’ take on new leases of life and the crowd is at fever pitch throughout.
By the time ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’ (complete with a HUGE hand clap intro) and ‘A Song For the Dead’ roll around to complete the encore, Wembley is a sweaty mess that has lost its collective mind. A true display of how to do an arena show and captivate each audience member from the front row to the top tier at the back, QOTSA can’t be far off festival headliner level now if this performance is anything to go by.