HOW cool are Queens of the Stone Age? So cool that they are the band Arctic Monkeys turn to as an example of insouciant swagger.
Queens, for their part, don’t appear to look up to anyone, fashioning their own timeless rock cocktail from their Californian desert base.
But somehow the stars were not aligned for this show. Queens are a tight rock’n’roll band, not a flamboyant stadium outfit. Rather than sprawl across a vast stage, they adopted a tight formation which belied the space they could have played with.
The backdrop graphics were striking and often hypnotic but there was no footage of the band projected on to the screen for the benefit of the folks at the farthest reaches of the hall.
This may not have been such a big deal had Queens not come across sounding smaller than they are.
The set drew heavily on the moodier palette of current album … Like Clockwork, the proggy title track and ambitiously overwrought piano ballad The Vampyre Of Time And Memory demonstrating their progression without slaying the room.
The blistering momentum with which they started out fell off over their hour and a half set, only to pick up during their punchier numbers – what frontman Josh Homme used to describe as “robot rock” – such as No One Knows and Feel Good Hit Of The Summer, the latter sparking pockets of mayhem in the crowd like no other song in the set.