The Queens of the Stone Age Rule the Memorial Auditorium
The mighty Queens of the Stone Age emerged from the Palm Desert of
California in the late 90’s and have proved themselves to be one of the most badass
bands in the Alt Rock scene. With their latest release, …Like Clockwork, frontman
Josh Homme shows a more vulnerable side to himself that six-and-a-half feet of
ginger power wouldn’t necessarily suggest. Previous releases displayed crunching
riffs, monstrous tone and surprisingly catchy hooks shown on modern-classics
like Songs for the Deaf and Rated R. Though …Like Clockwork takes a darker, more
mature approach, it still manages to hit with precision and incredible production.
After a rather eventful performance at the Grammys earlier in the week,
Homme and the gang set out for their first stop on their North American tour,
Raleigh, North Carolina. Despite the post-snowstorm inclement weather, Carolinians
still flocked to the Memorial Auditorium on Thursday night.
Starting out the show was the darkened singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe.
Not exactly who you would expect to open for the Queens. Wolfe performed with
such versatility, her sound ranging between doom metal, folk, electronica and an
undeniable Nick Cave influence. Keeping the lights low and dawning all black, she
remained mysterious, only speaking a few words towards the end of her set. Her
songs may not have translated as well as expected during her live performance, but
was no doubt an experience.
After a 20-second countdown, the Queens kicked off the show with
aggressive You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire, a song with
vocals originally done by ex-bassist Nick Oliveri. The band stormed straight through
giant hits like No One Knows, My God Is the Sun and Burn the Witch, only stopping for
short commentary from Josh Homme in between.
When the crowd isn’t singing along to the radio hits, they’re dancing to songs
like the hilariously deranged Smooth Sailing, or Turnin’ on the Screw. There was
no lack of energy from the musicians as well, with Homme stumbling around and
grooving to his guitar licks to bassist Michael Shuman kicking and head-banging.
Even with longer songs, Better Living Through Chemistry for example, the Queens
kept the joint captivated.
As they climactically returned to the stage for an encore, the sight of a piano
on the stage is a good indication of what’s to come next. The piano ballad The
Vampyre of Time and Memory was dreary and depressing, but also a crowd favorite.
Quickly changing the tempo with the heavy and precise Feel Good Hit of the Summer
and finally A Song For the Dead, the Queens of the Stone Age went out with a bang
and gave North Carolinians “A night we’ll all enjoy and remember together” as said
by Homme himself.