Former Queens of the Stone Age/Kyuss bassist Nick Oliveri has been labeled a lot of things: a reckless musician with no limits, a serial abuser, a stoner rock pioneer and a sociopath. By way of an enlightening one-man tour which stopped at The Khyber in Philadelphia recently, he can add troubadour to the growing list of ways he chooses to occupy his time.
Coming on stage with an acoustic guitar adorned with messy stickers, Oliveri shone a spotlight on a side of himself that he’s been toying with for several years now. This alter ego resembles a half-crazed punk crooner or screaming anti-folk crusader. He comes clean on his latest release, Death Acoustic, which showcases his anthemic punk blasts and rebel wail while accompanied by acoustic guitar.
The set included stunning stripped-down versions of contributions made to the numerous bands that he’s been a part of, including the Kyuss classic “Green Machine,” and Queens of the Stone Age’s “Millionaire.” A smattering of covers like Turbonegro’s “Back to Dungaree High” and “Bloody Hammer” by Roky Ericson were thrown in with punk precision. If the contrast of a devilishly bald, billy-goateed rock star angrily strumming his acoustic wasn’t entertaining enough, the fact that Mr. Oliveri seemed well prepared, well behaved and well within his range made the night one for the ages.