If I had a tail in Europe – An Upside Writer abroad
By Hollee Gunter
I have always liked Queens of the Stone Age, but Villains was the album that did it for me. I was unsure of how or why I let this band slip by and before too long I was obsessed with their whole back catalog. Villains was my album of the year in 2017 and I desperately wanted to see them live.
So, after seeing Hollywood Vampires at the same venue only a few days before (for the same crazy price of only 10 Euro – and yes, I am still shocked by this!) and experiencing a high number of people crammed into a very small venue, I decided I needed to be at the venue earlier to guarantee being able to see and get the most out of the concert.
After swimming around an island with my friends Joe and Becky in the morning, it was 4pm when I arrived at the venue. I made friends with the small number of people who arrived before me; I seem to have a lot in common with die-hard fans of any band. At 6pm, the venue security casually walked us through to claim our spots at front row centre. This was most probably the most organised and efficient way I have ever seen this done. Well done, Gothenburg.
Other people started filtering in at 8pm, ready for the concert to start at 9pm. The sun was fierce, shining down on us and a lot of people napped while catching some rays.
The whole evening was relaxed and no support band was required. Queens of the Stone Age took to the stage right after 9pm, opening with their hit single from Villains ‘The Way You Used To Do’. The crowd instantly got into it and the energy from both the stage and the audience was electric!
‘Sick, Sick, Sick’ and ‘First it Giveth’ were next followed by the iconic ‘No One Knows’. For me, to see this song live after so many years was amazing. I am in awe of how Josh Homme and the band can play and please a crowd.
It was fantastic to hear the up-beat tempo of ‘Head Like A Haunted House’, another track from Villains, followed by ‘I Sat By The Ocean’ off …Like Clockwork.
I personally lost my shit when they played ‘The Evil Has Landed’ and couldn’t help but sing along to the bass riffs like a drunk jazz musician, as I would normally do back at home in Adelaide, much to my housemates’ delight (amusement?).
Bass player, Mikey Shoes dressed in a gold suit, really stood out to me – I couldn’t keep my eyes of his playing during this song.
The band themselves never dropped their energy onstage. It was such an interesting sight to watch; all were so relaxed and made the music seem so easy, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The crowd was mesmerised by Josh Homme, there is something so unique about this musician and his control and leadership over the stage is a pure joy to watch. Guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen had excellent energy all over the stage. Drummer, Jon Theodore kept belting it out behind. Interchangeable keyboardist / guitarist, Dean Fertita had such an intense playing style. I am super happy to have got my hands on one of his guitar picks post-show.
I was so impressed with the set list, I loved listening to the beautiful melody of ‘I Never Came’, followed by ‘My God Is The Sun’ and then the grooving tones of ‘Smooth Sailing’.
‘Make It Wit Chu’, ‘Domesticated Animals’ and ‘If I Had A Tail’ were all crowd pleasers. The same can be said about Josh’s antics onstage such as kicking, leaning and knocking over the flexible light-up poles.
I was so happy and surprised to hear ‘Villains of Circumstance’; this has been such a special song for me since the moment I heard it. I have had trouble listening to it since the lead up to my move overseas and hearing it live really made it hit home. I dedicated this song to my sister, Willow and my kittens back in Adelaide before I left and the lyrics mean so much more to me now that I am here, often missing them.
And just as if they were playing just for me and my situation, the next song played was ‘Little Sister’, how is that for relevance?
‘You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire’ followed and they finished with one of my all time favourites, ‘Go With the Flow’.
Josh thanked the crowd, stopping to look at the sun setting over the theme park, commenting that it was such a beautiful sight.
A thunderous applause came from the audience, demanding their return. They came back on the stage, delivering the timeless opening track of Villains ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me’ and ending on a high with ‘A Song for the Dead’.
It was a wonderful evening; I am so happy to have finally seen them live and to have shared the experience standing front row with dedicated fans who simply adore this band. Making connections and bonding over music you love is such a beautiful and special experience.
DO NOT miss Queens of the Stone Age on their Villains tour of Australia in September!
Written by Hollee Gunter
Photo credits: Hollee Gunter