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WIGGING OUT THE VEGANS: WIND BACK WEDNESDAY AND QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE

July 18, 2017

Ahead of their Sydney show (which I won't be seeing .... sigh), and a Splendour appearance, Wind Back Wednesday is the ghost of meals past, from 2004.

 

Get some Josh nosh y'all.

 

 

WIGGING OUT THE VEGANS

Queens Of The Stone Age

Hordern Pavilion, January 3

 

Queens of the Stone Age are not a vegetarian option.

 

This is not a band for a healthy and light choice or a delicate alternative to the meat-heavy selections available elsewhere on the rock menu.


That’s is not to suggest they are in any way stodgy, limited or plain. Hell no: there’s subtlety and myriad flavours, sometimes even delicacy.


But it’s fair to say that Queens do beef very well.

 

The double crunch of guitars from Josh Homme and Troy Van Leeuwen (that sometimes veer into Thin Lizzy-like twin melodies); the pick and shove of Nick Oliveri’s bass (not to mention his regular unleashing of a serious howl); and particularly the thunderous but always rhythmic drumming of Joey Castillo.


It all adds up to something thick and strong and destined to hit your gut with solidity that won’t be washed away lightly.


Of course that’s pretty basic menu steps in the how you make a hard rock band book and there are plenty of others of that ilk around who occasionally challenge the Queens for heaviness.


But what’s really interesting about the Queens is how musically sexy they are. What’s striking about them is how they make a power-based style swing without looseness and strut without cockiness. What’s surprising for newcomers is how they work the hips as much as the gut.


Like I said, sexy.


(On a related matter, strange, if not bizarre, as it may seem, the bald-headed, Merlin-bearded, wild-eyed Oliveri is considered a bit of a hottie by some who place themselves on his side of the stage with a view to catching his eye. It takes all kinds really.)


You can see this hips-and-guts attack from the start with the opening double of Feel Good Hit Of The Summer and The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret chugging along alluringly and then Go With The Flow closing the deal.


All three songs ride on power but not mere brute force and then there’s the undertow that is more subtle still.


It becomes clear that as well as the Deep Purple/Blue Oyster Cult influences on one side and the more frenzied punk gutturals on the other side, the Queens ingested some glam rock too.


Not stack heels and glitter but an appreciation for how simple but effective rhythm mixed with things going bang can be potent.


That they can do a more sludgy, grinding metal style as well is never in doubt and for this they bring in occasional vocalist Mark Lanegan. The former Screaming Trees frontman has some of the slow-burn appeal of a Jim Morrison and thickens the soup appreciably.


However, for my tastes the sludge course lasts one or two songs too long and I suspect the audience too was aching for a palate cleanser as the Lanegan period dragged on.


Thankfully it came in the form of Another Love Song and, later, No One Knows where once again the Queens took the beef, seasoned it and served it with style.

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