Queens of the Stone Age live @ Phones 4u arena, Manchester

Emma Barrow explored the stadium shattering rock of Queens of the Stone Age; read her thoughts here.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 26th Nov 2013

Mentors to the Arctic Monkeys and a carousel of band members all stars in their own right, Queens of the Stone Age are unique. With collaborations from Elton John and Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters proving their versatility, QOTSA are not afraid to be different. Having just released the first ever interactive music video, these pioneers of music are leaders in their own right and made for a mouthwatering proposition live.

The houselights of the Phones 4u Arena dropped, a huge cinematic countdown clock adorned the stage. Anticipation filled the air… and suddenly the band appear to tantalising applause. Rumbling into ‘You think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire’ the fans ever loyal, ever growing surged forward. Feeling the Manchester air, Mr Homme donned his winter coat, courteously informing he’s under the weather and his doctor had sufficiently dosed him up, coming through for us all, ever the professional.

Limited interaction between Homme and the audience seemed he really wasn’t at his best, although one fan did receive a direct one to one; the curt response he received after shining a laser pen directly at Homme's face suggests he won’t do that again in a hurry. Driving through an impressive 21 song set, on this mammoth of a world tour, one couldn’t help feel there was a sense of going through the motions, expertly and beautifully executed of course.

Old favourites ‘No One Knows’ and ‘Burn the Witch’ had fans singing the baseline from the first note, with Hommes unique cocktail of modest yet humble confidence radiating, the fans were in the palm of his hand. It appeared a huge section of the audience were new to The Queens, with Like Clockwork‘s ‘ I Sat by the Ocean’ and My God is the Sun provoking mass sing-along’s. 

...Like Clockwork  and Songs for the Deaf were the core albums of the evening. Original diehards were graced with tracks from the their self titled debut and the roof rose when Rated R’s ‘Feel Good Hit of the summer’ kicked in for the second song of the encore, in complete juxta to ‘The Vampyre of Time and Memory’. Instructing the crowd to ‘be nice to one another’ - especially our sisters - they then exploded into the racy classic 'Little Sister'. Often asked why they are called ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ rather than Kings of the Stone Age, Homme replies that Kings would be too Machismo, opening up their music to all is important to them, and it seems to work.

A special nod must go to the production and lighting designers. Incorporating Liam Braziers animated work, inspired by Bonehead (Seriously look them up) on the huge backdrop screens. Five songs from the Like Clockwork album have been interlinked using beautiful animation.  I Appear Missing stopped the audience in their tracks, absorbing the stunning imagery, reflecting upon the bands entire ethos.

The transition to a stadium band did feel evident throughout the evening, a constant niggle, the gig would have served better at a smaller, more intimate venue. In all the gritty yet charming lyrics and riffs of QOTSA seduced everyone, for an audience of thousands that’s in no way a mean feat! 

Like this? Try Arctic Monkeys @ Phones 4u Arena, Manchester

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