Queens of the Stone Age – The Ryman – March 20th, 2011
Up until last night, it had been about 5 years since I first saw Queens of the Stone Age live. I was fifteen and they opened for Nine Inch Nails. I didn’t appreciate it as much back, but I’ll chalk that up to the shitty sound guy that night and the fact that I was still young and dumb. I got more into their stuff when they released Era Vulgaris. I picked it up, loved it and have been a huge fan ever since. Anyways, I thought I had a good idea of what to expect since I’ve always kept my eye on anything Josh Homme and co. does. But as usual, the band exceeded my expectations.
I can never get good tickets at the Ryman. It’s always back pews. I was stoked when I heard there was gonna be a presale. After a couple minutes of dealing with Ticketmasterbater (seriously, those people suck), I finally got tickets. Good news, I was in the second row. The bad news, I was on the fucking balcony. Luckily, after the end of the opening band, I went outside for a cigarette and met some cool people from Virginia. They hooked me up with a floor seat and a beer. Thanks Audrey and Drew! You guys are okay in my book.
The opening band was the Dough Rollers. Apparently the band’s normally a two piece, but it was a full band tonight. I only caught the last three songs of their set, but it didn’t sound bad. I wasn’t a big fan of it at first, but I got into after a while. They wore 50′s style suits and sounded like they listen to the Doors and Jerry Lewis a lot. They kept me entertained with their swinging riffs and blues persona.
After I got a better spot, I was ready for Queens. At 8:30 on the dot, Josh Homme and crew walked out and proceeded to melt faces with their entire first album. They launched into “Regular John” and followed the album’s order until after “Walkin’ on the Sidewalks” I think. The order got mixed up a bit, but I can’t remember which song. “If Only” and “Mexicola” were awesome and heavier than the album versions. “I Was A Teenage Hand Model” was chill but entertaining. It was interesting to see that song interpreted with a full band when it’s a really weird track on the album. Along with the cool jam during the closer “I Can’t Quit You, Baby”, the other stand out moment was during “Hispanic Impressions”, the chaotic jam that paused in the middle, so Homme could take a swig of Vodka from one of the two fifths he had onstage tonight. As soon as he put the bottle back on the ground, the band relaunched into the chaos of the song. How can you not dig this band’s attitude?
The band left the stage after they completed the first album, only to return soon after.. The dude who sat next to me (who came to hear their hits like “No One Knows” and “3′s & 7′s”) had already lost his patience and left. He missed out. The band launched into lesser-known but badass songs like “Turnin’ on the Screw” and “Long Slow Goodbye” and the “revenge” jam “The Fun Machine Took a Shit and Died.” Before the band played the audience requested “Monsters in the Parasol”, Homme told the audience that it was about the time he dropped acid when he was 13 and freaked at a friend’s house when their parents walked in, looking like werewolves. He then quickly quipped, “and that was before the trip.” He was full of jokes tonight. They closed the simple but memorable, “Go With the Flow.”
They came back for a final time and began with the catchy riff of “No One Knows.” I was bummed we didn’t get a cool jam during it, but the song was still pretty awesome. They closed their set with the heavy as fuck and underrated track “A Song For The Dead.” The band waved goodbye for the final time at the end of the song and left the audience wanting more. It was a two hour set, but even people who aren’t fanboys like me said they could have done another hour.
It was interesting to see how well the band jammed together on all of the songs, especially the first album (which was written and recorded by Homme himself 14 years ago. His new (or newer) band mates’ added a new level to it. Bassist Mikey Shuman goes nuts on stage. He made softer, Beatlesesque music for his band Mini Mansions, but when he’s in Queens, he’s got the aggressive punk streak of his older band, Wires on Fire. Second guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen proved at moments that he wasn’t just second fiddle to Homme, while drummer Joey Costillo proved he wasn’t just second fiddle to Dave Grohl. Keyboardist Dean Fertia is noticeable but doesn’t do nearly as much as he does in the Dead Weather. He had some moments though. Homme’s dedicated guitar playing and singing carried the show, but his carefree personality made it fun
Live, this band is rock n’ roll personified. Great riffs, cool jams, and people who don’t give a fuck and do what they want. If you get the chance, check em out live. The tickets might be a bit pricey, but the show is worth the expenditures. They don’t make them like this anymore, peeps.
Queens of the Stone Age website: http://www.qotsa.com/
the Dough Rollers myspace: http://www.myspace.com/malcolmandjack
Long Slow Goodbye
Monsters in the Parasol
No One Knows