Having already made headlines with their recent run of live performances – including a viral mosh pit at Glastonbury and an onstage appearance from Spider-Man in Belgium – Queens Of The Stone Age raised the bar once again tonight (July 7) at Mad Cool 2023 by delivering one of their strongest festival sets to date.
With numerous festivalgoers frantically sprinting from the Sam Smith set that just wrapped up on the Mad Cool stage, from the second Josh Homme and co. step onto the Madrid Is Life stage it becomes clear they have no intention of easing their audience into the set. Launching with fan favourite ‘No One Knows’, the frontman immediately has the Madrid audience in the palm of his hand – and the intensity only ramps up from here.
“If we play a little bit more, is that alright?” Homme jokingly asks at one point, not needing to wait for the eruption of approval that follows. Even when devoting a large portion of the setlist to newer tracks – ‘Carnavoyeur’, ‘Paper Machete’, ‘Emotion Sickness’ and ‘Straight Jacket Fitting’ from June’s ‘In Times New Roman…’ – there’s no doubting that Queens are producing one of the most captivating performances of the entire festival.
Of course, the set wouldn’t be complete without the usual playful antics from the band. There’s the moment when Homme teases the crowd by asking them to sing louder due to it being bassist Michael Shuman’s birthday (a minor white lie), while during the stripped-back ending of ‘Straight Jacket Fitting’ the frontman busts out some questionable dance moves atop the front speakers after recruiting the crowd as his personal a capella choir.
Despite being one of the veterans on the Mad Cool 2023 line-up – which prides itself on supporting new talent – you just get the sense that we are witnessing a band who are reaching the peak of their powers. With 25 years’ worth of material to draw from and a mammoth number of live performances lined up for the rest of 2023, this set proves that QOTSA clearly have no intention of slowing down any time soon.
“This is the best audience we’ve played to this entire fucking tour,” Homme, taking a brief break from practising his Spanish, declares at the end of their set, which climaxes with a frenzied ‘Song For The Dead’. “Look at what we’ve done together! Gracias… motherfuckers.”
‘No One Knows’
‘My God Is The Sun’
‘The Way You Used To Do’
‘If I Had A Tail’
‘The Evil Has Landed’
‘Make It Wit Chu’
‘Straight Jacket Fitting’
‘Go With The Flow’
‘Song For The Dead’