Much has been said about how rock n’ roll is dead, but Queens of the Stone Age refuse to read the memo. In a town where the usual version of going to see music is sitting in a booth while some guy presses play, Josh Homme’s band blasted out riffs and power chords and full-tilt swagger at the Chelsea on February 16.
Royal Blood were a well-matched opener, their stripped-down, drums-and-guitar lineup still generating a lot of action, especially on the banging “I Only Lie When I Love You.” The two-man lineup also means less clean-up before installing the field of glowing LED sticks that constitute the Queens’ stage set.
Photos by Paul Citone / KabikPhotoGroup.com
The band kicked off with the “ooh-la-la/da-do-ron-ron” road trip of “If I Had a Tail,” playing up the contrast between Homme’s crooning vocals and the band’s alternately laid-back and dive-bombing guitar attack. “My God Is the Sun” was a galloping, soaring blast across the desert, while a slinky, extended version of “Make It Wit Chu” showed off the band’s looser side. The show offered tunes from across the band’s two-decade career, as well as a number from their new album, Villains, including the glam-funk of “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” and the angular rave-up of “The Evil Has Landed.” An encore of the staccato/swooping “Lost Art of Keeping a Secret” and the sprawling, Spaghetti Western epic “A Song for the Dead” brought the show to a roaring finale.
Rock n’ roll may be on its way out: After all, who wants to take the time and effort of learning to play an instrument when you can just get on your home computer and make some beats to post on YouTube (hell, why even bother with the beats, just make the video and become “an influencer”). But Queens of the Stone Age will still be out there roaming loud and free, feeling the strings beneath their fingers and the wind in their hair, the feedback in their ears and the sunset in their eyes.