Queens Of The Stone Age – Live Review – The Piece Hall, Halifax
By Steve Crabtree, June 2023
Prior to their role as a Glastonbury headliner this weekend, Seattle rock band Queens Of The Stone Age chose The Piece Hall in Halifax to play their first UK gig for over five years. And what a show they brought over to Yorkshire.
With it being so long since the rock giants have treated fans on these shores, tickets for this one were snapped up quickly. And fans from far and wide made the journey to Halifax to be part of this incredible show. Walking through the Piece Hall, I heard Welsh accents, Scottish accents, Geordies, Americans and Londoners in the 5,500+ sell out crowd; proving that this is a huge band that draws people from afar, and giving evidence that The Piece Hall had pulled off another amazing coup.
After the blue skies had fought away the clouds and the venue filled up, QOTSA roared open the show with ‘Go With The Flow’ and ‘Lost Art of Keeping a Secret’. From the off, the crowd were whipped up, ready for over 90 minutes of pure, un-adulterated rock.
A raw and fierce beginning gave the thousands crammed into the courtyard the best start. And it wasn’t long before we were treated to songs from their new album In Times New Roman. Tracks ‘Negative Space’ and ‘Paper Machete’ went down nicely. Following that ‘The Evil Has Landed’ cranked things up a bit, before classic ‘Little Sister’ from the 2005 album Lullabies To Paralyze made its way into the set.
We were getting a good selection from a band whose back catalogue goes back 27 years. And Queens Of The Stone Age were sounding awesome.
With frontman Josh Homme exerting coolness and swagger, he was owning that Piece Hall stage with stunning raw vocals and masterful guitar work. All the presence you demand from the lead singer of a huge rock band. He interacted with the crowd nicely, and also with the lady signing the show at the front of the stage. She thrills us (and Homme) by playing along when he incessantly calls out the word “sex” for her to sign. Brilliant stuff, and brilliant natural rock attitude. Drummer Jon Theodore needs a special shout out too for sending relentless thunderous vibrations through The Piece Hall with many drum solos that hit you right in the stomach.
And this gig was loud. Insanely loud. The decibel levels of this one was up there with any concert I’ve ever been at, but I don’t think QOTSA would have it any other way.
“Rock at its ferocious finest”
I don’t know how the 243 year old foundations were doing, but The Piece Hall was lively as the band belted out a rowdy version of ‘The Way You Used To Do’. And, just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, they launched into a magnificent extended rendition of ‘I Appear Missing.’
Queens of the Stone Age were unquestionably leaving their mark on Halifax. From the start and towards the finish, the delivery of their signature rock sound came at us with precision. And as the close of the show got in sight ‘No One Knows’ started up. But, people are far from winding down. The crowd somehow pulled even more energy out of the bag, with the whole place oozing rock at its ferocious finest.
Time flew. The first hour especially. But as darkness decended on us, and curfew time was about to be broken, the band opted to stay on stage instead of doing an engineered encore. I loved that they did this, and so did everyone else. There was a poignant moment as they launched into their last few songs, by dedicating ‘In The Fade’ and ‘God Is In The Radio’ to their former bandmate Mark Lanegan who passed away last year. And that led us into an explosive finish, as they handed out a powerful ‘A Song For The Dead.’
Call it rapid. Call it raucous. This raging, adrenaline-fueled and unrelenting concert had certainly brought loud rock music into Halifax with a bang. And Queens Of The Stone Age have well and truly returned to the UK and made their mark.
Images: Cuffe & Taylor/The Piece Hall