Concert preview: Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails tour a family affair

By Chris Schulz

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Brody Dalle and Queens of the Stone Age front man Josh Homme.
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Brody Dalle and Queens of the Stone Age front man Josh Homme.

They're alternative rock's towering giants - two men responsible for some of the biggest riffs, baddest songs and best albums of the past 20 years.

Yep, Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme are in New Zealand tonight to kick off what will no doubt be a brutal and uncompromising three-date New Zealand tour that includes shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

But Brody Dalle - Homme's wife who will start the proceedings at each of the three shows - says the backstage behaviour at their combined Australian shows over the past fortnight hasn't been a typically extravagant rock 'n' roll affair.

"We have our kids with us," says Dalle, who has two children - Camille, aged 8, and Orrin, 2 - with Homme. Reznor also has two children - Lazarus, 3, and Balthazar, 2 - with his wife, How to Destroy Angels singer Mariqueen Maandig.

"The kids get to see a lot of the shows. They stand around and bop with their headphones on.

"There's a special kids' room backstage where the Reznor and the Homme kids hang out."

The Australian-born, US-based singer - one of punk-rock's finest talents thanks to roles in celebrated acts The Distillers and Spinnerette - admitted to nzherald.co.nz that touring with children has good and bad sides.

"It's a delicate balance. It's awesome because I don't want to leave them - that's painful. It's just tiring because I'm doing everything and we're travelling. But we swam in the ocean today so I have zero complaints."

Dalle will be performing at 7pm at tonight's Vector Arena show, with Reznor and Homme tossing a coin to decide the rest of the night's running order.

For those that arrive early, Dalle's promising a half-hour set of sneery rock that will include songs from her new album - including the feisty single Diploid Love - due out in April.

She'll also be cherry-picking hits from her previous bands, but it's unlikely she'll play one of her most well known songs: Spinnerette's Ghetto Love.

"Spinnerette songs are really hard to recreate live - there are so many layers. I like to play them in smaller clubs because I'm not holding a guitar. I don't like standing on a big stage like (tonight) - I find it weird."

And she finds it funny to see who's been arriving early to see her play at the shows.

"There are a lot of Nine Inch Nails' fan club members. They run to the front, hold on to the banister and don't let go," she laughs.

Dalle admits juggling family life with music careers can be tricky - especially when Homme keeps delivering stunning Queens albums like last year's ... Like Clockwork.

"Family is our main priority, it always comes first. But our life is making music so one of us is always home with the kids and the other one's working. It's nice to go on tour together - we're doing a lot of shows and festivals together this year.

"Thank God we have managers to figure out the logistics of it."

In Australia, Nine Inch Nails won more of the coin tosses, closing five of the eight nights - including a run of four in a row. Whoever wins tonight, fans should prepare for sets of around 80 minutes and up to 19 songs from both Queens and Nails.

Some nights Reznor has even performed several songs with Maandig. He recently told Australian radio state Triple J to expect the unexpected.

"I've always looked at it like if I have your attention for a couple of hours, I want to do the most that I can with it, so we're trying to keep things off the cuff and unpredictable.

"These shows will be different every night."

View Nine Inch Nails' setlists from their Australian shows here, and Queens of the Stone Age's setlists here.

TONIGHT'S PLAYING TIMES:

6pm: Doors open
7pm: Brody Dalle
7.50pm: Nine Inch Nails or Queens of the Stone Age (depends on coin toss)
9.10pm: Intermission
9.40pm: Nine Inch Nails or Queens of the Stone Age (depends on coin toss)
11pm: Approximate end

Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails & Brody Dalle
March 19: Vector Arena, Auckland
March 20: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington
March 22: CBS Canterbury Arena, Chrischurch

- nzherald.co.nz

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