Sunday, March 20, 2011

Queens of the Stone Age

Spring is here, and with it, comes enough money to start going to shows again. It's been a long, slow, showless winter but the sun is starting to shine again and the awesome rock shows are slowly starting to trickle back into town. Tonight's Queens of the Stone Age show at the Ryman has been on my cloudy radar for a while, and I was glad when I finally found that lovely soul on Craigslist that just wanted to get rid of their tickets to someone who would enjoy the show.

My partner in crime for the night needed a bite to eat, thus detouring us into Robert's Western World. Although this little pit stop made us miss the opening act at the Mother Church, the band playing at the honky tonk was really good. The guitar playing front man switched seamlessly between chicken pickin' on a Telecaster and gliding up and down his pedal steel. We got a solid half hour of surfy-rockabilly selections and a good dose of the lower Broadway vibe, not to mention a few cheap cans of Busch.

When we got to the show, we quickly decided that our back row lower level seats just wouldn't do so we made our way up to my usual spot in the walkway in the back of the balcony. I love this spot because it's right next to the light guy and I can stand up the whole time without being heckled by lazy seat nazis.

The first half of the show consisted of the band playing their entire self-titled debut album, which as far as I was concerned, was great. Not being very familiar with much of their catalog at all, I was aware of their rocking potential and I tend to like most bands' earlier stuff anyway. The Queens are a good ol' fashioned rock band, with a tone which is one of all around badass-ness and rock debauchery. Drinking vodka from a beer bottle, Josh Homme delivered his falsetto vocals and savage guitar riffs like a true rock hero. Joey Castillo banged out those tricky drum lines without a flaw and Michael Shuman's bass sounded Entwistle-iscious. The other two guitar players brought additional layers of attack as well as extras such as shakers, keys, and electronic noisemakers that sounded like they were bought at Radiohead's yard sale. The second half of the show consisted of selections from the rest of their albums, including a song requested by a fan which Homme explained was about a teenage experience with LSD, as well as one of the only two songs I recognized, "No One Knows".

The Queens of the Stone Age brought it like I knew they would. Their show wasn't full of fancy lights and flashy effects, but rather filled with crunching, well crafted rock songs and a killer band dynamic. This band to me is one of the most underrated rock acts of my generation and I'm glad I got to see them and can't wait to engulf myself in their entire index.

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