At one point during his band's sold-out show at the Beaumont last night, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme said, "We may be drunk, but we still care. I may be really high, but I still care." He also claimed that he hadn't played in Kansas City for the past 19 years; but he was glad to be back. Everyone else packed into the Westport venue was, too, because Homme and his band fucking killed it.
I listened to QOTSA's 1998 self-titled debut album ad nauseam in anticipation of this show -- an album originally performed by none of the dudes onstage but Homme himself. In a recent interview on The Guardian, Homme said this: "The first Queens record is iconic for us. Each album is a different marker on our path, but this is the one that started it all. It put the trance into the music."
And so it was last night: an intoxicating stew of desert stoner rock, hard, dirty and desolate. A sea of faces extended all the way to the back of the venue, transfixed on Homme, who was surrounded by drop-down LED lights. Songs melted into each other, and the vocals were hard to decipher. I stood up high on the west end of the room, and everyone around me was down with it. (No bitchin', just rockin'.) Down below, the crowd really got off on "Mexicola": In a world that's full of shit and gasoline, baby, I'll totally take it.
Homme did look rather worn-out, but he owned the stage and played effortlessly. Backed up by Troy Van Leeuwen on guitar, Michael Shuman on a monster bass, Dean Fertita on keyboards and guitar, and Joey Castillo on drums, the aural onslaught lasted about 90 minutes. (I think at one point, Homme accidently kicked over the keyboard stand, but I couldn't see that part of the stage so well.)
For the encore, Homme took requests. He seemed genuinely grateful when someone threw out "Misfit Love." "That's one of our favorite songs," he said. "This is the first city on tour to request that." QOTSA gave us the crowd what they wanted at the end, for sure. The audience sang along to "Make it Wit Chu" ("A song for the ladies," he called it) and went ape-shit on "Little Sister."
To hear the final song of the night, "No One Knows," performed live was the zenith of my music-going experiences. Beer and cups flew, bodies were gyrating. It was, well, soul-cleansing.
Critic's Bias: I had goosebumps the entire show.
Critic's Notebook: Hard to read as a result of drink spillage and writing above my head.
Overheard in the Crowd: "He [Homme] needs to lay off the drugs."
Walkin' On Sidewalks
You Would Know
How to Handle a Rope (A Lesson in the Lariat)
Give the Mule What He Wants
I Was a Teenage Hand Model
You Can't Quit Me Baby
Turnin' on the Screw
Make it wit Chu
A Song for the Deaf
No One Knows