Queens of the Stone Age
For those smart enough to get down early enough, we're treated to local lads doing good, the hotly tipped three piece In Case Of Fire. After years of slogging their guts out, the breaks look like they're coming their way. Of course, it's always a worry when band who do so well in the smaller venues step up to somewhere much larger (the last time I saw these guys was Auntie Annies which would probably fit onto the King's Hall stage with room to spare), but there's no need to fret, as they take to it like ducks to water (or more likely whiskey in the rock and roll tradition). Their driving pumping rock recalls, among others, Muse, System Of A Down, At The Drive-In and Therapy?, while their electronic tinged intros are reminiscent of Fourtet, and hint at the potential for a move into stranger and more interesting directions. For now though, they're sticking to the grandiose operatic rock of 'Enemies' and set closer 'Second Derivation', before leaving probably to mutter that next time it will be them headlining this place. Maybe - watch this space.
Ah, so those things covered in clothes are chandeliers, so we're in the world's largest (and probably soon to be sweatiest) ballroom, although no-one intends to be waltzing tonight - especially to 'Dance To The Music', an incongruous choice of song for the Queens to walk on stage. Normality (in this case chaos) is resumed with 'You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire', featuring howling backing vocals from this evening's cabaret masking as the bass player - more about him later. After exhorting us all to "get f***ed up" the experienced master showman Homme whips us into a frenzy with the sing-along recipe for a good evening and bad morning after that is 'Feel Good Hit Of The Summer' with an almost space-rock breakdown as we get to know one another.
'Misfit Love' is so dominated by the bass, by the drums and the riff, hell by the music, that the vocals are almost an afterthought lost as they are within the hypnotic driving pounding rhythms of sleazy rock. Ah, it's our bass player's birthday tonight, but we'll not sing for him, instead Josh has promised him a good time. 'Go With The Flow' gets probably the biggest reaction so far, while 'Turning On The Screw', despite its relative youth, is greeted as warmly. 'Make It Wit Chu' is included as Josh and his fellow Queens seem to be having a good time tonight, promising, after the crowd steals the chorus, that we're "all going to get laid tonight" while the aforementioned chandeliers light up for the first time in the evening. Past single 'Little Sister' whips us up even more as the lights above us look awful close to falling down, and more recent offering 'Sick Sick Sick' degenerates us into an evil frenzy to close the set.
Strolling out for their encore, before removing the illegal cigarette, Mr Homme, for this is his show in all but name, stripped as they are of his collaborators, admits it taken a while to get here, but it's been worth the wait.