Queens Of The Stone Age have had a weird ride. Launched from the desert rock scene via Kyuss, leader Josh Homme has slowly but steadily abandoned the hard crunch and fuzz of those beginnings, and added a much more fluid and nuanced approach over the last two records. After the hiatus following Era Vulgaris that was punctuated by a post-op infection which left Homme closer to dying than anyone would want, he looked inwardly and as a result the songs took on a different shape. Check out …Like Clockwork’s title track for a clearer example of this.
One unexpected guest on that record was Sir Reginald Dwight’s piano contribution on “Fairweather Friends,” and this is total conjecture on my part but after Homme spent last year touring as part of Iggy Pop’s band, the sound of Villains has an unmistakable stamp of a certain thin, white, Osterberg collaborator and I wouldn’t have been surprised had Bowie popped up on “Fortress” (sadly didn’t make the cut for tonight) or “The Evil Has Landed.”
Homme was in a talkative mood and dished on topics ranging from hoping that everyone got laid that night, how good his tequila tasted, and letting security that they worked for him tonight and to not hassle the fans in the front, whether they were using flash while taking a photo or enjoying a slug from a flask. “Hey, it’s my long-lost brother. You gotta jail? Cool.” He also made a commentary on our ever-fracturing society, telling people to “go on a living spree and be with people you like, bond over things you like rather than things you hate. Otherwise, the evil has landed.” Digging deep into the songbook, Homme prefaced “Mexicola” by saying they played that song at the Middle East but just over half of the set list was comprised from the last two records. For my money, Homme should dump the stodgy “Make It Wit Chu” and similarly dull dance plodder “Smooth Sailing” and replace them with virtually anything else. Homme pulled an audible on the encore with an earlier shouted request for “I Think I Lost My Headache,” so he’s clearly living by his earlier words.
UK duo Royal Blood has opening duties for this tour, a tad ironic as another noted bass/drum duo was also playing just a few yards down the street. You’d be surprised at how loud just a bass and a drummer can get, and while it wasn’t the super-distorted hyper-grunge like godheadSilo or the doomy mystic trip of OM, they took a more rockist approach. Only veering from the path briefly when “Hole In Your Heart” featured some keyboards, Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher managed to get the crowd’s attention and hold it; the feeling was reciprocated when Thatcher was held aloft by the crowd after a brief sojourn across the security barrier.
Photos of both bands:
Created with flickr slideshow.