Josh Homme was very happy to be in Dublin on this Wednesday night, six years since Queens Of The Stone Age last walked on-stage at the 3 Arena. He makes this abundantly clear, saying “Tonight’s the last night of this tour, and I could think of no better fucking place in the world to be.”
Following solid support in the form of a short, but well attended set by English trio deep tan, and a raucous turn by Aussie punks The Chats, the desert rock veterans pull no punches. Basked in the colours of an impressive lightshow. Homme leads the quintet with a one-two combo of their biggest hits “No One Knows” and “The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret”.
With eight studio albums under their belt, the band kept it varied throughout the show. Fan favourites from by-gone eras and line-ups like “Burn The Witch” and “Better Living Through Chemistry” (with an extended, hypnotic percussion intro courtesy of ex-Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore) were given as much air time as the bands more recent output. With that said, “Emotion Sickness”, “Carnavoyeur” and “Paper Machete” from the band’s latest album, In Times New Roman, get over just as well with the Dublin crowd.
Homme, for his part, is in both playful and poignant form. He feeds beer to a plush toy cat offered up by an enthusiastic fan and encourages the crowd to dance and “be the motherfuckers you are” ahead of “If I Had A Tail” and “The Way You Used To Do”. “Burn The Witch” is played after a crowd vote, while the chemistry between band and crowd are untenable during the sultry “Make It Wit Chu”.
Later, Homme dedicates “I Sat By The Ocean” to Shane MacGowan, who has since been discharged from hospital, declaring “when all the poets are dead, you’re just left with the cunts.” It’s a touching moment, one musical giant recognising another. It’s a feeling that Homme would revisit, the band’s four song encore being dedicated to former Queens collaborator and Killarney resident, the late, great Mark Lanegan. His vocals were, and always will be, sorely missing from classics like “In The Fade”, “God Is In The Radio” and set closer “A Song For The Dead”, but no more than his presence in the world, especially in the lives of Homme and his other cohorts.
Queens Of The Stone Age have always hit those sweet spots between brutal and beautiful, heavy and melodic, catchy and dissonant. With these sonic elements, an ever-growing discography, and flawless performances like these, their popularity and ability to sell out stadiums and venues like the 3 Arena can hardly be questioned. In times of global and local political and social unrest, it’s a reminder of how great an escape music can be. To that end, Queens have always been one of the world’s greatest good time rock and roll groups.