Live Reviews

Queens Of The Stone Age – The Piece Hall, Halifax: Live Review

Queens Of The Stone Age – The Piece Hall, Halifax – 20th June 2023 – The End Is Nero tour

Queens of the Stone Age on stage at The Piece Hall, Halifax playing to a sell out crowd of 5,500 eager fans.
It’s a sell out. Queens of the Stone Age rock The Piece Hall, Halifax.

It’s been over five years since Queens of the Stone Age graced British soil but now they have three shows in the space of four days before heading to Glastonbury. They’ve chosen some amazing venues; the 5,500 standing only Piece Hall in Halifax, the 15,000 capacity Dreamland at Margate, and the 10,000 capacity Cardiff Castle! All of which basically makes The Piece Hall the ‘intimate’ venue.

“To drop a live rock show into such a heritage setting, seems absolutely crazy,

but of course it works perfectly!”

And what a venue it is. The Piece Hall is superb. A grade I listed building it’s the sole survivor of the great eighteenth century Northern cloth halls, dating back to its construction in 1779, this prestigious building and large courtyard stands proudly in the centre of Halifax as an outstanding example of Georgian craftsmanship. To drop a live rock show into such a heritage setting at first, seems absolutely crazy, but of course it works perfectly!

Support act Coach Party, a four-piece band from the Isle of Wight, offer a mix of indie rock and pop. Easily accessible lyrics and a decent mix of guitar and drums, they’re energetic and vibrant with the verve of youth. They provide a good warm up for the main event, they may not be the best match for the Queens Of The Stone Age in terms of similarity of music, but the crowd reacts generously and they’re well received.

“Those of a similar age to Homme will no doubt love his rebellious nature

and for one night at least they can enjoy it.”

Josh Homme is well known for his swagger and machismo. He’s tall, he smokes, drinks, talks a lot about sex and swears on stage. This may be the kind of attitude that we now actively discourage in teens and young adults, but those of a similar age to Homme will no doubt love his rebellious nature and at least for one night, they can enjoy it. The rest of the band are much less vocal and even when Homme introduces them during a mid-set song they don’t say much, preferring to let their music do the talking. But Homme has a strong stage presence and interacts with the crowd throughout the show.

They kick off with Go With The Flow, The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret and Smooth Sailing the latter of which heavily features Homme’s falsetto vocals. My God is the Sun follows before Homme offers up several new tracks including Negative Space and Paper Machete from their recently released album In Times New Roman. If that caused a slight lull in proceedings then The Evil Has Landed from the 2017 album Villains and Little Sister from the 2005 album Lullabies to Paralyze really kicked things back into high gear. Not to say that the crowd at the front hadn’t been going crazy all night. Another new track in the form of Made To Parade get its live debut and Battery Acid is a deep cut from 2007 album Era Vulgaris with its dark lyrics and heavy guitars its a fan favourite. The final new track of the night is Carnavoyeur, but sadly there’s no space in the setlist for Emotion Sickness.

A raucous rendition of The Way You Used To Do excites the crowd and leads into an extended version of I Appear Missing; a song that deals with Homme’s near-death experience. No One Knows signals that the show is nearing its end, but the crowd go mad as a sea of camera phones record what is the band’s best known and most loved song.

Homme eschews the normal, forced feeling of an encore break saying that he would rather just “stay here with you and keeping playing” suggesting that we should all just “pretend they went away and came back.” The crowd responds enthusiastically and Homme dedicates In The Fade and God Is In The Radio to his late friend and occasional band mate Mark Lanegan before they end their set with what is perhaps their heaviest and loudest track A Song for the Dead. Queens of the Stone Age are loud, vital and immediate. The most inventive of guitar riffs and thumping drums, all underpinned by pounding basslines. It’s muscular, visceral, thrilling and thoroughly entertaining.

In a time when the likes of Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles sell out Wembley Stadium,

Queens Of The Stone Age are a breath of smoke-filled, alcohol-infused air.”

In a time when the likes of Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles sell out Wembley Stadium, Queens of the Stone Age are a breath of smoke-filled, alcohol-infused air. Their links to Foo Fighters are well known, but Homme somehow even out-screams Grohl. These two bands, in my opinion are easily the best, and possibly the last real rock ‘n’ roll bands, and with their new album they have proved that they are still not only relevant but a major force in the music business. As they burn a trail across the UK, visiting not only the previously mentioned venues, but also Manchester, Birmingham and London, fans will be able to experience this old-fashioned rock band face to face as they rip up the rule book and put rock music back at the top of the music agenda.

Queens Of The Stone Age put out a call to “the obscene and the clean, the outcasts and the weirdos, and anyone and everyone in between,” to come along to these shows throughout June and November. Tickets sold out very quickly and tonight a legion of fans have turned out on a sunny, humid evening in Halifax to experience an amazing band perform a blistering gig, in a truly spectacular setting.

Images courtesy of Rhodes Media.

Queens Of The Stone Age online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube

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