Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Queens of the Stone Age brought old and new to the Starlight last night

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 9:16 AM

click to enlarge ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman

Queens of the Stone Age and Primus
Starlight Theatre, Kansas City
Tuesday, May 13, 2014

For the full slideshow from last night, go 
here. 


"Hi everybody, how the hell you doing tonight?" These were the first words spoken by Queens of the Stone Age front man Josh Homme. Maybe the down-home attitude was a facade or just caked on a little too thick, but the crowd didn't seem to care. Starlight Theatre, on what may have been our last remotely chilly day until September, was filled with such banter, and the packed crowd went gaga for it.

The Queens visited Kansas City amid a tour in support of an album that's nearly a year old and was their first release since 2007. For many bands such a lengthy hiatus could be a death toll, but 2013's ...Like Clockwork was a lauded success, and featured a large cast of guest musicians - including Dave Grohl and Elton John.

click to enlarge ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman

While the various accolades, generally positive critical reception, and Grammy nods for ...Like Clockwork are certainly boast-worthy, it seemed Tuesday's crowd preferred the old to the new. A look at last night's setlist could have meant that the Queens themselves favored the older cuts. Though more songs were performed from their most recent album than any other, these tracks were cleverly peppered throughout the performance, which made them feel more like filler than anything else. Next to the two opening tracks (both from Songs for the Deaf) the third, "My God Is the Sun," seemed sort of bland. Similarly, following the mood-shifting epic transition that was "The Fun Machine Took A Shit And Died" to "I Sat By The Ocean" came off as a throwaway. Granted, "Smooth Sailing" was interesting. It's not everyday you hear a rock song that has that very distinctive hip hop, bass boom.

click to enlarge ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman

In comparison, the classic songs, such as "No One Knows" and "Go With the Flow," did more than hold up their end. These songs had more vitality and crowd appreciation than most all of the newer stuff. Not only that, most of the hits occupied the latter half of the set. The Queens knew what they were doing. Front-loading a couple hits followed by an intermittent dusting of new, lesser-known tracks is safe and sensible. It helps jazz the crowd up quick so they'll stick around long enough for the next smash, which in turn buys time until the band is truly ready to just give the crowd what they want and go out big.

click to enlarge ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman

Queens of the Stone Age also brought some fancy, expensive looking stage lights that were equal parts cool and annoyingly blinding. The crowd banter itself was also divided in allure. Sometimes Homme came off sweet, sincere, and funny. Other times he seemed bro-ish, overly macho and a caricature of himself. Much like that irritating waiter at your table, he wouldn't stop asking how you were doing, and multiple songs were derailed for the sake of addressing some quarrel in the crowd.

Again, the crowd ate this stuff up and nobody seemed to care that they never actually finished playing the title track from ...Like Clockwork and just switched to playing "Little Sister" instead. What's interesting to note is that "Better Living Through Chemistry" featured a solid thirty seconds of feedback that would normally make most people cringe. Somehow, magically, in the proper setting and with a large act on stage, feedback does not encourage folks to leave their drinks in their seats - quite the opposite. Of course, that could be chocked up to fact that a 32 oz. can of Miller Lite costs $11, but it seems unlikely.

click to enlarge ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman

So the hits still hit, and the new ones can drag a bit, but that didn't stop Queens of the Stone Age from wooing Tuesday's crowd at Starlight Theater. If anyone accused Homme of losing his touch, he'd probably respond by saying he is making the best music of his life right now. That's great positive thinking, but yesterday there were 8,000 people singing every word to "Feel Good Hit of Summer" and not "Fairweather Friends."

For more photos from last night, go here.
 

Setlist:
You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire ('02)
No One Knows ('02)
My God Is The Sun ('13)
Burn The Witch ('05)
Smooth Sailing ('13)
The Fun Machine Took A Shit And Died ('05)
I Sat By The Ocean ('13)
If I had A Tail ('13)
...Like Clockwork ('13)
Little Sister ('05)
Fairweather Friends ('13)
Make It Wit Chu ('03)
Sick, Sick, Sick ('07)
3's & 7's ('07)
Better Living Through Chemistry ('00)
Go With The Flow ('02)
- -
The Vampyre Of Time and Memory ('13)
Feel Good Hit of Summer ('00)
Song For The Dead ('02)

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