A rock monster hushed, with just his acoustic guitar and his voice to relay his hardcore output? Surely this won’t work. And by the look of this sparse crowd, Nottingham had the same thought and stayed away. They missed an intimate gig with a real rock legend.
Date: June 9, 2014
Venue: Rock City Basement
When such a hard-rocking demi-god goes acoustic there’s always the chance of it falling flat; an unplugged, uncharacteristic fail.
And they don’t build ’em as hard-rocking as Nick Oliveri. Bassist by trade in one-time seminal hardcore band Kyuss and stoner-rock behemoths Queens of the Stone Age, not to mention a plethora of other projects, Oliveri has the dubious task of migrating his hardcore values when the electric is switched off.
A difficult task maybe but while Kyuss songs like Green Machine and QOTSA material like Gonna Leave You and Another Love Song obviously lose some of their ear-splitting verve, they lose none of their power. Indeed even The Ramones’ Endless Vacation is wired to hell.
On Queens of the Stone Age’s Feel Good Hit of The Summer, he invites audience members to sing vocals. Six duly oblige in a narcotic jamboree.
Oliveri – bald yet sporting a pruned beard – has mastered the process of exactly how to play those stripped-back songs with a devilishly fiendish “death acoustic” approach, as he terms it.
His voice, too, lends itself to this winning formula. He growls and snarls like a rabid Tasmanian Devil.
His set is a mixture of songs from his vast oeuvre over the duration of an hour.
The Mondo Generator songs – the band he fronted on his departure from QOTSA – are perhaps the heaviest, with Invisible Like The Sky a highlight.
Acoustic shows are a gamble for rock’s alumni, but Oliveri’s transition from hard-rocking conjurer to feisty troubadour is seamless.