Feature: 10 Reasons You Need to See Queens of the Stone Age Before You Die
Fri, 24 May 2013 09:28:27
Queens of the Stone Age Photos
Queens of the Stone Age Videos
Last night at The Wiltern, Queens of the Stone Age put on the kind of show that people really talk about for weeks to come—not just on Twitter on Facebook. It's the kind of gig that makes you want to drive home still listening to the band. How rare is that in this day and age? It was a special Los Angeles one-off, and it was downright awesome.
Given that they're one of the best live acts ever, ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino compiled "Ten Reasons You Need to See Queens of the Stone Age Before You Die" in this exclusive feature.
10 Reasons You Need to See Queens of the Stone Age Before You Die
10. Even though they're so tight they don't need it, the band's production is completely innovative. The show started off with an animated bloody hand moving across a giant screen as each successive frame shattered like glass. It was transfixing whether you were sober—or not—especially as they kicked into "Keep Your Eyes Peeled" from …Like Clockwork. That stunning screen displayed everything from a rotating neon "QOTSA" hotel sign to more tripped-out animation to space sexiness during "Make It Wit Chu". You can stare at that crazy prop for two hours alone….
9. As evinced by last night, Queens of the Stone Age bring people together. Where else can you see metalheads and hipsters grooving to the same song? Well, "My God is the Sun" and "No One Knows" exuded a unifying power most politicians could only dream of. Usually, those two groups couldn't be further apart, but last night dudes in Slayer shirts hung next to trust fund coffee fiends wearing Salvation Army-bought suits without issue. As a safety precaution, with the large volume of hipsters at the Wiltern, Silverlake was probably empty. Somebody should be hired to keep watch over everyone's vinyl collections, the next time QOTSA plays.
8. Joshua Homme can play piano impeccably. That's right. During a sweetly haunting performance of "The Vampyre of Time and Memory", Homme tickled the ivories with finesse, allowing each note to ring out poetically as he crooned, "Does anybody every get this right?" It swayed into dark desert bliss so elegantly.
7. The new material is just as powerful as the old material. Somehow, maybe it's the desert air or just plain divine-bestowed talent (really does it matter?) Queens of the Stone Age become more perfect with every album, and …Like Clock Clockwork proudly upholds that tradition. "Kalopsia" seesawed from a lounge-y guitar into a hammering chorus. Meanwhile, "I Sat By The Ocean" and "If I Had a Tail" saw robotic riffs stomp over polyrhythmic rhythms in classic fashion. "I Appear Missing" might be one of their most pensive moments yet. The guitar drips like codeine—thick and remorseful—as Homme's falsetto climaxes on a soaring chorus.
6. Believe it or not, Queens of the Stone Age attracted a large number of females to the show. Now, we're not sure of the final count, but it was refreshing to see girls enjoying guitars again. That's rather uncharacteristic of 21st century rock and metal.
5. You can actually dance to their music. Homme prefaced a rousing, raucous, and rowdy "Little Sister" by calling it "a dance number". He wasn't kidding either as asses venue-wide began shaking to the swaggering, sweaty six-string swing of the Lullabies to Paralyze classic.
4. In a few words, the band is a formidable force of nature. That was more than a few words but you get the idea. Troy Van Leeuwen remains a guitar powerhouse in his own right, tempering heavy with hypnotic at all the right moments. Michael Shuman attacks the bass like a ravenous animal, tearing through the grooves with panache, passion, and power. Dean Fertita's multi-instrumental magic adds wonderful heft to the sound, while Jon Theodore pummeled through those big beats like his life depended on it. Of course, Homme's the man, but we'll save that for number 3…
3. Homme can do no wrong. Watching him live on the likes of "Burn the Witch", "I Never Came", "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire" and "Go With The Flow" from Songs for the Deaf, and Rated R classics "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" (including a snippet of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab") and "I Think I Lost My Headache", his guitar prowess proves undeniable. It needs to be said. This man stands out as one of the greatest guitarists ever—and vocalists. "Turnin' on the Screw" from Era Vulgaris illuminated both as he churned out grinding guttural guitar grime that bled right into unforgettable lines like, "You ain't a has-been, if you never was". He gets rock 'n' roll right again and again.
2. The show is a journey. Energy moves up and down, and it crescendos like a movie. Think a desert epic directed by David Lynch and starring Nicolas Cage and Sam Jones.
1. It's fucking Queens of the Stone Age, man. That's all we need to say. Get a ticket to the show and buy …Like Clockwork on June 4 on Matador Records [iTunes link].
Were you there? What's your favorite Queens of the Stone Age song?