Queens of the Stone Age / Radiator
Nottingham Rock City (The Rig)
November 12 1998
Still not sure what I think of the Rig as a venue. It's kind of nice and small and intimate, but can be pretty shite for viewing bands. Anyway, that's besides the point.
Radiator were the first band I saw, I think Orange Goblin played, but they must've been on at some ridiculously early time. I've heard one single by Radiator, Black Shine, which is pretty good. But, well, sometimes you watch a band and wonder, how are they going to make the breakthrough. I mean, how much does the music matter when you're playing your hearts out in front of 5 people stood at the front looking at you like the enemy?. (I wasn't one of those, I hid further back.) People around me weren't paying any attention. So you've got some decent songs, like Amnesia (if I remember correctly. Sorry, had to do that), the aforementioned Black Shine, and some others that I've forgotten the names of.
You're going for it, trying to encourage the smattering of people to "wake the fuck up", and it's getting you nowhere. People are just paying no attention. What is required? Sometimes I'm at gigs, and I try to give my attention to bands I've not heard before. I applaud at the end of songs. I mean, one listen isn't enough to judge a song whether it's good or bad. And there's all these people around me who look so much more like they know music, understand it, it's in their blood, and they're paying no attention. And I think, well, maybe I've got it wrong? Maybe you shouldn't give bands and people a chance. Maybe you should just be a wanker all your life. Maybe I am totally wrong and misguided in thinking there's actually a shit load of good bands out there. It's just they don't all necessarily get in the charts. And never will. But they're still good. They're still valid. They're still worth a little bit of attention. But hell, I may be wrong. There again. Fuck it. There's nothing wrong with my attitude. And after about 30 minutes of stuff that for some bizarre reason that I have no explanation for, reminds me of Loud, Radiator troop off. You could hardly call it a victory. Yet they're not bad. Maybe there isn't that outstanding song yet, but even if there was, is that going to be enough to break them. Sometimes you just look around and wonder what it's all about.
And then Queens of the Stone Age come on at the ridiculously early hour of 9pm. Towards the end of the show, they explain they're up against a curfew. Well that's cos we're in a nightclub that's open until 2am y'see. A ROCK nightclub at that, which from say 10pm onwards, has to cater for all the students that have now returned to drink themselves stupid and maybe dance to some kind of banal chart oriented music that's played for them.
What was that I was thinking about how are some bands going to get the break. Hmmm, I wonder. Rock City. The caring sharing, now starting a record label to help bands place is more concerned about getting it's punters than the music it claims to support. Ah well, controversy could reign again.
Anyway, QOTSA are still on the stage, and probably looking at me, waiting to start so that I can and try and make some half arsed review of them. Ah fuck it, they've started already, and it's a couple of new songs that I don't recognise. The first of which features the first of 2 lead vocal slots from bassist Nick. And then we hit the familiarity of the material from the album.
Much like the album, there are some sublime moments such as Walkin on The Sidewalks, Mexicola. There are also some songs that pale somewhat in comparison. But when in their stride, the Queens stroll it. It's kind of laid back, yet in your face. A series of contradictions. When Nick sings, it has a raw punkish hardcoreish edge. When Josh sings, it's so laid back. So in the seventies. So against what the punks liked that you have to wonder what some of the modern punks are doing here, or makingo of those guitar solos that are in songs, or the tracks that get drawn out into a jam (which thankfully for the most part stays on the right side of tedium and self-indulgence).
Midway through, some security guy, from the caring sharing RC decides to put a barrier in front of the stage. Which doesn't really amuse the band. "Hey, I like the science to this" reckons Josh "you put a barrier to stop them getting on the stage. So you get on the stage yourself, in order to stop them. I like it. I mean, we don't want barriers. Hey, we don't want you to come on stage, but we want you to drink and have a good time.." They then launch into the second of the Nick fronted songs. It sometimes could be left in such a small venue to the crowd to regulate themselves, being guided by the bands wishes. Instead of the overzealousness that is often shown by those people with our best interests at heart. Honest. Not just doing their job, and trying to look good. They have our interests at heart. Course, couple of songs later the first, and only crowd surfers emerge. Don't give them an excuse to put the barriers back. Guided by the wishes of the band.
A band who also wish to know if "it's only men that live in Nottingham, cos that's all that's down the front." "Na, I saw two back there" points out Josh. An anguished cry goes up from someone else who wasn't recognised or acknowledged. "Ah yeah, beautiful, god bless you." Someone else's voice goes up. "Well you'll have to come from behind the pillar and down the front here.." That curfew means that they have to combine the last few songs into one, but as it ends with the very wonderful Regular John, they depart, leaving the few that had turned out, happy. At plenty of time for the club people to enjoy themselves without being troubled by the intrusion of quality live music. Me, I'll bugger off home now. I've got work to do y'know. That thesis ain't writing itself.