Queens of the Stone Age
Better than…moshing alone.
Queens of The Stone Age were becoming reliable, but as they were hitting their stride at the end of 2008, the band decided to take a break and work on solo projects, most notably Josh Homme with Them Crooked Vultures. The Queens (he he) returned for tours in 2010 and 2011 to support the deluxe reissues of Rated R and their self-titled album, but didn't record any new material until last summer.
Last night's show at the Wiltern served to showcase songs from their upcoming album, …Like Clockwork. It's been six years since the Palm Desert-natives released new material, and since then Jon Theodore replaced Joey Castilla behind the drum kit. This was bassist Michael Shuman's first album since joining the band after the recording of Era Vulgaris. But the new additions proved to be quick studies and the band's drone-y, riff-heavy guitars and pulsating drums were as brooding as ever.
For three days in advance, they'd hunkered down at The Wiltern to rehearse for this show and their upcoming European tour. And it paid off. Stoner rock? Not really. Last night they showed that, at heart, they're a no-frills hard rock band.
“Wiltern, this is for NPR,” Homme said, early in the show, referencing the show's live-streaming on the radio network. “So be on your best behavior!”
While standing in line outside The Wiltern, fans speculated that the show would be quick hitting, featuring songs primarily from …Like Clockwork with one or two bigger songs thrown in for good measure.
What they got, instead, was a monster 22-song set that combined new songs with older, familiar ones. “Sick, Sick, Sick” came three songs in, and the set delicately balanced punchy new tracks like “Kalopsia” and the powerful “My God Is the Sun” with standards like “No One Knows,” “Little Sister” and “Go With The Flow,” heavy and fiery.
Playing before a 30-foot screen that featured striking artwork by Boneface and animation from Liam Brazier (It would have been at home at a Gorillaz show) the Queenies (he he he) sounded confident and polished. Rather than a night to work out kinks, the evening felt like a bon voyage party.
Maybe it's just us, but in the age of indie rock and synthpop, hearing this band flex their guitar muscles is a pleasant reminder that there's still a place for punishing hard rock.
Critical Bias: I saw Queens of the Stone Age at the Milwaukee airport nearly two years ago. I snapped a photo of my buddy with Josh Homme. Though tired and probably hungover, he was still a sport and didn't complain.
The Crowd: Dexter, aka Michael C. Hall, was rocking out in the VIP area during “A Song For The Dead.”
Random Notebook Dump: Apparently Morrissey wasn't feeling the show. He was seen leaving after a few songs.
Set list below:
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire
Sick, Sick, Sick
First It Giveth
No One Knows
My God Is the Sun
I Sat by the Ocean
The Vampyre of Time and Memory
I Never Came
If I Had a Tail
Turnin' on the Screw
Burn the Witch
Make It Wit Chu
I Think I Lost My Headache
Go With the Flow
I Appear Missing
Feel Good Hit of the Summer ('The Shining' reference and Rehab by Amy Winehouse snippet)
A Song for the Dead