Photos by Dustin Schneider
Stone Age Storms Into Irving
By Dave Stewert
Live Nation welcomed Queens of the Stone Age to the Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory on Wednesday 25 April and it was a great showcase for the current band that founder Josh Homme is recording and touring with these days. Josh Homme has to be one of the most dynamic personalities in music in this young millennium. He is impossible to pigeonhole and from his desert stoner-rock beginnings with Kyuss that began in 1987 it would be hard to imagine that Homme would rebrand the band as Queens of the Stone Age and become a sort of impresario of the rock world, setting trends and expanding out to impress critics and fans with his broad influences and ability to unite every stripe of indie rock, punk, pop and metal into his creations.
This was my first time to see QOTSA live which is pretty remarkable since I have been a fan for almost two decades. Openers Wolf Alice, the rising four piece from North London fronted by the beautiful and talented Ellie Rowsell charmed the crowd with their dream pop laced with sonic tannerite.
The crowd was in a good mood before the band took the stage and looking around these hard rock fans are aware they will get something other than spandex and power chords. They are more than ok with that.
Homme has tweaked the cast with a killer lineup to support the new album Villains. Brit producer of the decade Mark Ronson was employed this time to push things in a funkier direction and I think the record shows that Homme is willing to share the control room with anyone he admires in music. He brings former Mars Volts percussionist Jon Theodore who was involved on this album from its inception and is a powerful force on the recording and live. Texturally inspired and fierce on the beat, he powers this desert beast.
As QOTSA take the stage with their striking LED towers interspersed around the stage they launch into two new songs from Villains. “Feet Don’t Fail Me” and “The Way You Used to Do” set the tone and ups the swagger quotient which was already hella high the past few albums. The band charges through 16 songs and 2 encores with a little commentary from Josh along the way. He is a big bulky clean-cut guy who sometimes seems like a frat guy who dosed on Ayahuasca and had a religious experience listening to Elvis and The Misfits all night somewhere in Joshua Tree but this is not the case. He has always been a rebellious guy and fosters a deep love of heavy music and a keen sense of taste. At 6’-4” and probably 250 he is not your average indie artist typology but his ability to hybridize and invent based on his knowledge of 70’s rock, hard core and prog propels him into a unique space. His generous and collaborative output have made him into a sort of Kevin Bacon of the rock world. The list of collaborators and projects stretches on and on. You can connect him in six degrees of separation to everyone in the rock scene by this point. Trent Reznor, Dave Grohl, PJ Harvey, Rob Halford, Arctic Monkeys, Iggy Pop, Peaches, Lady Gaga and the list goes on and on.
All the albums were generally represented including my personal favorite …Like Clockwork, with its wide ranging scope. One minute they are channeling Black Sabbath and the next David Bowie on those songs and its badass high art. The fan fave album Songs for the Deaf from 2002 contributed three tunes, two of which made up the encore.
Overall it was a tight and electrifying show and I will be looking forward to their next live appearance and hopefully another guitar driven LP before too long.
The evenings setlist:
- Feet Don’t Fail Me – Villains 2017
- The Way You Used to Do – Villains 2017
- You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire – Songs for The Deaf 2002
- 3’s & 7’s – from Era Vulgaris 2007
- Mexicola – from Rated R 2000
(Request from the crowd)
- No One Knows – Songs for The Deaf 2002
- The Evil Has Landed – Villains 2017
- Burn the Witch – Lullabies To Paralyze 2005
- Domesticated Animals – Villains 2017
- Smooth Sailing – …Like Clockwork 2013
- In My Head – Lullabies To Paralyze 2005
- Make It Wit Chu – from Era Vulgaris 2007
- My God Is the Sun – …Like Clockwork 2013
- If I Had a Tail – …Like Clockwork 2013
- Villains of Circumstance – Villains 2017
- Little Sister – Lullabies To Paralyze 2005 Encore:
Go With the Flow – Songs for The Deaf 2002
A Song for the Dead – Songs for The Deaf 2002