Josh Homme rarely takes a day off. In the middle of a world tour with Queens of the Stone Age, Homme found the time the schedule a relatively last-minute solo show as a part of James Lavelle‘s Meltdown festival at the Royal Festival Hall. Solo shows are extremely rare for the enigmatic front man with the ever dependable setlist.fm showing only one other solo show, which occured in 2005.
After one of the most perplexing “opening acts,” I’ve ever seen, a 20 minute film from 1984 featuring one of the worst bands I’ve ever seen, Homme strolled out onto the stage at just after 9 p.m. by himself.
With a bottle of red wine in tow and seated on a wooden stool, Homme picked up an acoustic guitar for “Long Slow Goodbye” off Queens of the Stone Age’s 2005 album, Lullabies to Paralyze. Homme then played three more songs by himself, a cover of Dean Martin‘s “Memories are Made of This,” a new song, “Villains of Circumstance,” which Homme claimed he wrote 30 minutes earlier, and a cover of Johnny Cash‘s “Dark as a Dungeon.”
You can check out the audio for the new song, “Villains of Circumstance,” below:
Throughout the night, Homme was affable, even friendly by his standards as he joked along with the crowd, engaging hecklers and taking large swills from his frequently refilled glass.
From here, the “solo” portion of the show as well as the “acoustic” part fell by the wayside as Troy Van Leeuwen, his Queens bandmate, came out to lend a hand on some of the more complex tunes. The duo then launched into a pair of Queens songs, “Mosquito Song” and “I Never Came.” While this performance was extremely bare and occassionally sloppy, the intimate look at both Homme as a performer and stripped down versions of these heavy songs was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
Mark Lanegan then came out to join them on Lanegan’s own “One Hundred Days” and then Queens’ “Hangin’ Tree.” The harmonies on “Hangin’ Tree” may have been one of the highlights of the night as Homme and Lanegan’s voices intertwined beautifully.
After a run through Marty Wilde‘s “Bad Boy,” the duo of Homme and Van Leeuwen closed the show with a trio of Queens of the Stone Age songs, “The Vampyre of Time and Memory,” “Kalopsia” and “Into the Hollow” to cap off the 12-song, 70-minute “solo” show. Overall, this was a can’t-miss show that displayed Homme’s rare ability to control and entertain a crowd, even with just an acoustic guitar on his lap.