London Three Piece, Deep Tan are hard to get a handle on. Part post-punk, part surf rock (but only if you’re surfing where Thames Water have dumped a load of what they normally do). Deep Tan’s is an odd world. Current single “xenomorph queen” (lower case deliberate) explores “the queer family” and has gained plenty of coverage, and there’s something beguiling and interesting about the way they weave their dark lines.
“Ophanim” is a prime example of what they do, in that it almost sucks you into its world without you realising and Wafah, the singer and guitarist has a real charisma. “All Piss No Chaser” might be a good reason not to drink anything around their house, but my goodness it sticks with you.
Indeed, by the time they finish with “Mouna” they clearly are a band that will do things in their own way. Self-proclaimed to be “in search of weirdness” they’ll find it, no doubt.
“G’day, we’re The Chats from South Queensland, we’re gonna play some songs for you” says Eamon Sandwith. I only mention that because it is about the only thing that makes this a normal arena performance.
The Chats are magnificent. They are the finest punk band in Australia. Josh Homme is a long-time fan, which explains their presence here, but Arena Rock doesn’t sound like three guys from rural Queensland who sing songs about Nambour and its inhabitants.
They race through about 17 songs in 35 minutes. They are clever like “Billy Backwash’s Day”, or “6Ltr GTR,” or vitriolic like “Nazi March” but here’s what The Chats never are: boring.
“Temperature” is dedicated to “the scumbags”, “Struck By Lightning” is as simple as its title but with Josh Hardy firing riffs out and Matt Boggis beating his kit as if it owes him money they are mighty.
“Better Than You” is effectively their anthem, but it’s “Pub Feed” that remains their absolute jewell. If many in the arena are bemused, that’s their loss. There’s plenty to shout about when it comes to The Chats.
Josh Homme had seemed Mellow enough when he’d turned to the crowd before “Emotion Sickness” and said: “I don’t have much to say tonight, I hope you have a wonderful time”. And the reason becomes clear a little later, halfway through before new track, “Carnivoyuer”.
“Today, Birmingham, is a stoney Sunday. I’ve been smoking a lot of weed today.”
And that’s the vibe, back to the desert, back to Kyuss, if you will, but more than anything it proves that more than any other arena rock band (except perhaps Pearl Jam) there’s a definite feel of anything goes every night.
Where these things are normally slick with setlists honed to the nth degree, Josh and the boys play what they feel on the night and it makes it unique.
“Regular John” pounds as an opener, and when they do “No One Knows” (the mega song would be an encore to most) and “Smooth Sailing” you realise the power of this band is in the riffs.
“If I Had A Tail” is a vehicle for the whole band, notably Dean Fertita on keys, and there’s a proper blues tinge.
There are quite a few from the new album “In Times New Roman” including its standout “Paper Machete” and if that means there are not too many feelgood hits of the summer, as it were, then “Burn The Witch” is heavy, “Make It Wit Chu”, funky disco and “Little Sister” full of energy.
Whilst this might be stripped away of the usual arena bombast and pyrotechnics, it conforms in two ways. First, the light show is stunning, and there’s a lengthy encore too.
“In The Fade” is the only tune from the brilliant “Rated R” album, and “Go With The Flow” has lost none of its power.
“A Song For The Dead” is a song for the end here, and in closing as a bit of a maelstrom of sound, it closes a show that was tonight’s version of Queens Of The Stone Age. Another night they’ll be something else entirely, but whatever they do, they’ll fill arenas because they always compel.