ACL Review: Queens of the Stone Age


The band offers an energetic set from a variety of albums.

Staff Writer

Josh Homme is a musical genius, a fact that I did not fully realize until ACL 2013’s Friday night set from Queens of the Stone Age.

Swayed into a long-time-coming QOTSA fandom by the band’s dazzling savior-of-rock-n-roll summer release, “…Like Clockwork,” I was very excited for the set.

After the final notes of the lyrically appropriate opener, “Feel Good Hit of the Summer,” from 2000’s critically-acclaimed “Rated R,” I knew I was locked in for a ride that would push the sonic boundary between auditory pain and pleasure.

Although the band only played half of the songs from “…Like Clockwork,” I realized I was a bigger QOTSA fan than I had previously thought, knowing the lyrics to and recognizing the infectious hooks in a majority of the tracks from the 14-song set.

I have never been a metalhead. My threshold for screaming, poorly played/heavily distorted guitars, and blast beat drumming is extremely low. Queens of the Stone Age are not a metal band. In fact, they may be one of the only true rock-n-roll bands we have left.

By the time Josh Homme and the rest of the crew, which included recently-added and raucously impressive drummer John Theodore (formerly of the now-defunct The Mars Volta, who don’t do too much for me), arrived at the undeniably quality grooves of “Make It Wit Chu” and the funkiest track from “…Like Clockwork,” “Smooth Sailing,” I was in awe.

Queens of the Stone Age are a band that knows how to deliver, and the set was like a supremely enjoyable punch to the face, with the band teetered dangerously throughout the 14 songs on the previously-mentioned sonic boundary between auditory pain and pleasure, staying just enough on the side of pleasure to keep me hooked.

Although Homme had me at, “You know me, I’m your drinking buddy, Joshua; how’s everybody doing,” he stole the show on the haunting, high-caliber finale of the set, “A Song for the Dead,” from 2002’s “Songs for the Deaf.” His voice is like liquid gold. Do not ask me to explain that simile, second-weekenders, just go see QOTSA. You will not regret it.