Review: Queens of the Stone Age, Iggy Pop, Run the Jewels and friends takeover Finsbury Park
- Credit: Archant
The raging steam train that is Queens of the Stone Age and friends rolled through Finsbury Park this weekend, flirting with and flattening an audience of more than 45,000 fans.
“Godfather of Punk” Iggy Pop, Merseyside mod-rocker Miles Kane and hip hop-duo Run the Jewels were among the bill of thirteen artists performing at a day festival curated by the Californian rockers on Saturday, June 30.
Headliners Qotsa’s 20-song set included an eclectic mix of heavy-hitters from their 2000 release Rated R through to newest album Villains, which came out in August last year.
It was high-intensity from the get go, opening with the punchy chords of “Do It Again” from 2002’s Songs for the Deaf followed by “The Lost Art of Keeping and Secret” and “Go with the Flow”.
Each band member performed their parts like pistons in a finely-tuned motor.
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Towering 6ft 4in frontman Josh Homme commanded the show with his signature lip-curls, strutting across the stage amid a maze of lightsaber-like LEDs rising up from the floor.
Guitarists Troy Van Leeuwen and Dean Fertita and bassist Mikey Shoes played the bouncing, interlocking riffs that define Qotsa’s sound with total precision.
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While the playing of drummer Jon Theodore, formerly of the Mars Volta, propelled songs like “My God is the Sun” and “Domesticated Animals” forward with equal measures of bombast and restraint.
But their set also included moments of spontaneity, such as a two-minute drum solo during No One Knows in which Theodore shows off his prodigious talent.
After sunset, the band played their mellow desert-blues hit Make it Wit Chu against red, smokey backlighting.
Homme takes drags from a cigarette while beckoning the audience to sing the hook as if talking to a lover with which had been reunited after years apart.
“It’s been so long. Come on sing for me one more time, please,” he says. “You sound so beautiful.”
They finished up with the frenetic “Little Sister” and bass-heavy “A Song for the Deaf”.
Those hoping that Iggy Pop might join Qotsa on-stage to dust of song or two from Post Pop Depression - his 2016 collaborative album with Homme - may have been left slightly disappointed that, in this instance, it was not to be.
But fans got to enjoy a 12-song set from the barechested 71-year-old, ripping through classics such as “I Wanna be your dog,” “Skull Ring” and “Lust for Life”.
Iggy spent much of the set in the embrace of those in the front row, occasionally thrusting the microphone into his trousers.
“If I was hitching beside the road somewhere in Swindon, would you pick me up?” he said before launching into “The Passenger”.
Run the Jewels’ El-P spoke of how humbling it was to be on a bill with so many living legends, questioning what it is his group had to offer.
“Savagery,” answered fellow MC Killer Mike. “Good old Brooklyn and Atlanta savagery.”
Pelle Almqvist, frontman of Swedish garage-rockers The Hives, elicited big laugh’s from the crowd with his Brexit-themed banter.
“It’s 4am in the morning, time to wake up Great Brexit!” He said. “I am from Europe - how d’you like me know?”
The group played an all-new song called “Paint a Picture,” possible their first since music since 2012 Lex Hives.
And a team of Ninjas were on-hand to prevent the microphone lead from snapping as he darted around stage and into the stage.
A bare-chested Miles Kane performed his latest disco-influenced single Coup de Grace and a cover of Donna Summer’s 1979 hit “Hot Stuff”.
Deap Vally, an all-woman two-piece from Los Angeles, brought a new level of heaviness reminiscent of Royal Blood or Le Bucherettes.
The buzz-saw tones frontwomen Lindsey Troy achieves on her 1976 Fender mustang rip into your eardrums with the satisfying feeling of pulling apart velcro.
Also on the bill were Brighton four-piece Black Honey, who announced their self-titled debut album is set for release on September 21.