Words: Kelsey Trevan
Photos: Dylan Martin
One thing that you can count on in Melbourne is for music fans to show up, no matter what else is happening. Last night was no exception when rock legends Queens Of The Stone Age played at Margaret Court Arena to a sold-out crowd, despite there being an Australian Rules Football elimination final being played, as well as a Melbourne Storm rugby game, both within a stone’s throw of the venue.
First up to play was Sunshine Coast pub-punk three-piece The Chats. The Chats are about as punk as you can get, and being pub-punk means they’re more than happy to sing about bogan things! If you’ve not heard them before, think The Sex Pistols but if they were Australian and as bogan as they come, and there you have The Chats. They played iconic track Smoko, the track that went viral and is about a tradie on, you guessed it, smoko! Pub Feed was also in the setlist, which includes lyrics about a “Chicken Schnitty, a parma, and a rump steak – medium rare!” Vocalist Eamon Sand was also sporting the best mullet I’ve ever seen, and along with guitarist Josh Price, and drummer Matt Boggis the three put on an extremely entertaining show to get the night started. If you haven’t heard their song Smoko or seen the viral video I thoroughly recommend checking it out, it’s thoroughly entertaining, as are the band!
From one extreme to another, next up to play was Melbourne jazz-blues icon C.W Stoneking who brought along his full band that included a drummer, a double-bassist, trombonist, and a trumpeter/saxophonist. There were also four beautiful backing vocalists who also played percussion instruments at different times throughout the set and were glad half in sparkly dresses and half in black sparkly jackets. Now you may be thinking what I was, that it’s quite odd to have a jazz-blues band on the bill, BUT, the crowd was incredibly responsive. It had started to build by this point and people were cheering and clapping along. Stoneking himself spoke of how honoured he was to have been invited along on the tour, despite not having heard of the headliners beforehand. I’ve never seen a jazz band play live myself, but I found myself thoroughly enjoying C.W Stoneking’s set. The beats were easy to get lost in, and Stoneking’s vocals intertwined with his backing vocalists beautifully. Regardless of what kind of music you’re into, give C.W Stoneking a listen and try and get out to see him next time he plays your town.
After C.W and co. had left the stage, the ’80s hits began to blast through Margaret Court Arena’s speakers as the stage was prepared for Queens of the Stone Age. The sold-out crowd had finished filtering in by now and the stage was set – complete with about a dozen upright, free-standing lights but not much else. Minimalist is definitely the way to go sometimes, and Queens of the Stone Age doesn’t really need much except for themselves and their instruments to put on a great show. Guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen and bassist Michael Shuman were competing for best outfit with Troy in a purple plaid suit with a red tie, and Michael in a gold brocade suit. Keyboardist Dean Ferlita, drummer Jon Theodore, and vocalist and lead guitarist Josh Homme were all in black. They opened their set with If I Had A Tail accompanied by the roar of the crowd, and immediately everyone in the crowd was singing.
Feet Don’t Fail Me had every member of the crowd moving and dancing, including those who were seated and not just those on the floor. Homme introduced his fellow band members a few songs into the set and informed everyone that it was Theodore’s birthday and the crowd launched into an unprompted, rather uncoordinated, but collective rendition of Happy Birthday.
No One Knows not only had the majority of the crowd headbanging, it also included a rousing and incredible drum solo from Theodore, while both Homme and Shuman pulled a classic rock move and smoked cigarettes on stage, and Van Leeuwen and Ferlita left the stage presumably to do the same! There’s few people that could get away with pulling a move like that, but if anyone is going to pull it off, it’s Queens Of The Stone Age. Head Like A Haunted House had everyone up out of their seats again and Josh reminded the men in the crowd that women already knew what men didn’t, and that they shouldn’t be ashamed to dance as well. He pulled some of his own interesting dance moves on stage.
Before Villains Of Circumstance, Homme shared a touching story from his childhood. When he was younger, his grandfather told him “If you’re gonna be weird, you’re gonna get hit with rocks, so learn to like rocks.” A chuckle rippled through the audience at this before Homme continued with, “Now I play in a rock’n’roll band with some of the best musicians in the world!” and unsurprisingly, everyone cheered. Informing us multiple times in the evening that he’d spent most of it throwing it up, Homme still did an incredible job vocally.
There was not a dull moment in the set, aside from the extended awkward silence at one point that Homme was excited to point out and emphasise upon while he waited for the entire crowd to be completely silent. In true rock’n’roll fashion, the band left the stage after Go With The Flow, claiming it to be their last song, before returning for an encore performance of A Song For The Dead. The final song involved a lot of Homme playing up on the drum riser, a lot of dancing from Van Leeuwen, Shuman, and Ferlita. It ended with Van Leeuwen hanging his guitar off his mic stand and knocking it over, and Homme and Shuman dropping their instruments to the ground as well.
It was a fantastic show from everyone involved, and Queens of the Stone Age put on an incredible performance. If you can get yourself to one of their final three shows – tonight in Melbourne, Sunday in Adelaide, and Wednesday in Perth – you will not be disappointed!
Get your tickets to see Queens Of The Stone Age on their Australian tour HERE!
If I Had a Tail
In My Head
My God Is the Sun
Feet Don’t Fail Me
The Way You Used to Do
You Can’t Quit Me Baby
No One Knows
The Evil Has Landed
I Never Came
Head Like a Haunted House
Someone’s in the Wolf
Villains of Circumstance
Go With the Flow
A Song for the Dead
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