Live gig review by Alan Daly
© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
Best known for his bass and vocal duties with Queens of the Stone Age, Nick Oliveri played an almost secret acoustic show to an audience of less than one hundred die-hard fans in the Thomas House last Friday night. After an acrimonious departure from QOTSA in 2004, Oliveri has kept himself busy artistically with a string of bands including The Uncontrollable, Mondo Generator, Dwarves and Kyuss Lives! (the reincarnation of Kyuss, which he was a member of long before QOTSA) amongst others. Casually taking to the stage where he would stand for the next ninety or so minutes with just an acoustic guitar and a microphone, he conducts a brief soundcheck and some DIY tuning before breaking into ‘Green Machine’ from the 1992 Kyuss album Blues For The Red Sun.
Continuing with a barrage of confident performances from a repertoire of tracks spanning his 25+ year career, Oliveri proves that he is so much more than just the bassist and backing vocalist of “that band”. A flock of faithful fans plant themselves firmly at the edge of the stage where they can literally feel Oliveri’s breath as he screams the harsh vocal lines of ‘…Millionaire’. Singing along with the majority of his set, they revel in the intimacy offered by the tiny “Bruisers” venue in the basement of “Dublin’s finest dive bar”, which proudly welcomes miscreants and weirdos!
Oliveri thanks his fans for coming out to see his self-labelled “death acoustic” gig; admitting that it takes a lot to persuade him to attend an acoustic show. He adds that he even he finds it hard to come up and play by himself; but that at least he enjoys playing with himself. He appears genuinely humbled and flattered by the massive reaction and support from this modest gathering, and when he invites everyone to join him on the tiny stage for ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’, the audience willingly oblige. A surreal sight ensues as tens of eager fans surround him to sing along to the only lyric “Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, Marijuana, Ecstasy and Alcohol; C-c-c-c-c-cocaine”. With the sweat beading on his shaved head, and dripping down through his trademark lengthy goatee, he commends the audience on their enthusiastic performance, hardly able to conceal his pride.
Clearly feeling the pressure of having consumed a few pints of “the black stuff”, Oliveri briefly disappears stage left for a few moments, and returns to apologetically announce that he “had to take a piss”; prompting laughter and questions about his personal hygiene from the jovial audience. Slowing down the pace somewhat, he dedicates ‘Auto Pilot’ to a friend who died after taking an overdose, before quickly changing the mood again with a cover of GG Allin’s hilarious ‘Outlaw Scumfuc’ which opens with the line “Everybody knows that I’m a scumbag, they won’t come to see me in this dive”.
With his performance already totally deviating from the hand-written setlist near his feet, the clearly penned and planned two-song encore is quickly abandoned as fans cheekily call for six more songs; and Oliveri does his utmost to satisfy their insatiable cries for more. A few Mondo Generator tracks make up most of the encore along with a cover of the Ramones’ ‘Today your Love, Tomorrow the World’ and a vocals-only version of ‘Mental Hell’ sees him struggling to keep a straight face as he growls the lyrics in a hoarse and raspy voice. As the show draws to an end, Oliveri once again thanks his fans for making it extra special and raises a bottle of Tequila to their health.
Intimate shows like this with international artists don’t happen very often here in Dublin, but when they do, those fortunate enough to attend will remember and appreciate the event for years to follow; proudly boasting that they were there when Nick Oliveri rocked the Thomas House in June 2014.
Nick Oliveri Solo Tour 2014