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Live review: Queens of the Stone Age & Friends @ Finsbury Park, London (30/06/18)

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On Saturday, Finsbury Park played host to Queens of the Stone Age and friends after taking a hit from the Madchester crowd of Liam Gallagher the previous day.

The day kicked off with incredible amounts of excitement from everyone entering the park. People were having pre-drinks in local pubs that clearly had tailored their playlist to the artists that would be taking over the local area.

Despite being a day dedicated to the LA desert rockers, the line-up was beautifully decorated with a mass of female acts to settle that ongoing debate about there being a lack of girls at festivals.

On the second stage, tucked in the far corner were Spanish rockers Belako who blew it out of the water with their killer set, opening not only the stage, but the entire festival drawing everyone in down to their cosy little set-up.

Black Honey opened the main stage, dressed head-to-toe in custom Wrangler denim, they took their positions and provided a perfect, moody performance. Izzy Baxter (lead singer), with her turquoise hair, cowboy hat, killer heels and neckerchief; took to centre stage and indulged us with old favourites such as, ‘Madonna’ and ‘Somebody Better’, along with new tracks ’Bad Friends’ and ‘Dig’, a more mellow yet punchy track.

The crowd grew thicker and thicker as the day went on, wandering around the park there was familiar faces, Hinds taking cute photos of each other, Deaf Havana enjoying a lads day out at the park. There was just so much excitement in the air for what was still to come from the day.

Hitting us in the face with some of the best angsty tunes was Deap Vally on the main stage. The LA queens put on their best set making sure none of us dropped to the floor; raw drum beats and gruelling guitars filled the park as they smashed through ‘Walk of Shame’. Their sassiness in lyrics is never gone a miss, “the stranger in the bar tells me to smile more, I look at him and I ask, what for? I am happily unhappy, man”, sings Lindsey Troy into a crowd of vibing – yet somewhat melting – Londoners.

Supposing to be a stripped back set, Brody Dalle surprised us and was joined by Fay Milton and Ayse Hassan from Savages. Needless to say, this was no longer the intimate personal set we were expecting, but Brody still made us feel like her best friend as she screamed down the microphone, ‘Don’t Mess With Me’, giving us the illusion of Courtney Love if you closed your eyes. The sun radiated from behind the stage, burning us as we watched her.

The crowd was made up of interlocking queues for toilets, bars and water pumps that simply were not going down quick enough. “We’ll just have to watch from here”, was the general vibe from people who were 40 minutes deep into queuing for their Carlsberg as they simultaneously awaited Iggy Pop’s arrival.

Iggy Pop was exactly as you’d imagine. He opened his set with the iconic Stooges track, ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, unexpected but expected. Prancing all over the stage, yelling into the microphone it was a vision.

‘Singin’ in the Rain’, drowns out all the chatter and any other noises from around the park, people cheer, recognising this is it. This is the start of what we’ve all been waiting for. From their 2002 album, Songs for the Deaf, Queens of the Stone Age kick off their two-hour set with ‘Do It Again’, something the older fans, the dedicated ones who have been there for 16 years.

Josh Homme pulls out all the stops, his smouldering eyes and slight grin as he observes the 45,000 fans he’s pulled into this seemingly tiny park in London. Running through tracks from a mixture of their albums, they satisfy the entire audience: ‘Burn The Witch’, ‘No One Knows’, ‘Smooth Sailing’ are just a few of the favourites they treat us to.

‘Make it Wit Chu’ brings a sentimental moment to the park, guys vs gals as Josh orchestrates harmonies between us. ‘Little Sister’ sparks a universal “oooooh!” from the crowd, “do you think people know this is about prostitution?” says one fan stood by as he watches the rest go wild for this tune.

With an encore of ‘Song For The Deaf’ that rolls perfectly into ‘Song For The Dead’, the night ends on a massive high. Soon, those annoyingly long queues are a distant memory, as everyone revels in what they had just been a part of: the biggest Queens of the Stone Age union the UK has ever seen.

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