The man with the most envied shriek in the music business, Nick Oliveri has always been something of a force of nature. It is now 11 years since the former bassist’s controversial exit from international rock superstars Queens Of The Stone Age, and while his old band are continuing to sell out arenas worldwide, Oliveri seems content strutting his stuff on the club circuit.
“My version of acoustic is Death Acoustic!” he bellows as he makes his entrance to an austere Voodoo Lounge stage, announcing his acoustic show based around the live album of the same name. Fully aware of his musical limitations, something he willingly admits to at the start of his set, Oliveri makes full use of his volatile stage presence and incomparable vocal barrages; he jokingly refers to being a “bit coarse” at one point, to bring an otherwise sparse one-man show to life.
Fans of Josh Homme may be loathe to admit, but Oliveri was very much the driving force behind a large percentage of the early QOTSA and Kyuss material, an actuality he demonstrates as he bludgeons his way through acoustic renditions of ‘Green Machine’, ‘Autopilot’, ‘Another Love song’, ‘….Millionaire’ and ‘Gonna Leave You’, a song he sardonically reminds us he wrote about his ex-wife (the less said about that the better). A willing crowd pleaser, Oliveri probably goes a step too far with the pleasantries by inviting everyone on stage to assist him with Rated R favourite ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’ – something that probably sounded better in his head than what actually proceeded – but nonetheless manages to keep the audience amused with his frequent quips about drugs, alcohol and girls.
While emphatic performances of ‘The Bloody Hammer’ and new record ‘The Doors Invented Rock n Roll’ keep the fires burning, the gig noticeably lulls as the novelty wears off, the audience beginning to get the impression they’re at a low-key, if extremely vociferous, acoustic tribute act as opposed to a rock concert. Thankfully though, he livens up proceedings before the end with boisterous renditions of The Ramones’ ‘Endless Vacation’ and G.G. Allin’s fittingly sleazy ‘Outlaw Scumfuc’, providing him with ample opportunity to unleash his trademark unhinged aggression.
Following a facetious introduction of his non-existent band, Oliveri’s “encore” (although he never actually leaves the stage) sees him taking audience requests prior to breaking into his own ‘Four Corners’, KYUS classic ‘Love Has Passed Me By’, and ‘Eccentric Man’ by The Groundhogs. A muddled conclusion maybe, but the crowd seem content they’ve gotten what they came for – an understated yet invigorating kick-start to the week.