To quote the bumbling Queens of the Stone Age fan (one of many) next to me at the onset of Sunday night’s show at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion to nearly everyone around him: “I’m going to tell you right now, this is going to be awesome.” QOTSA fans had much to say in this regard and often touted themselves as the keenest around.
Sunday had a lot going on – alongside the hard rock heavyweights, the post-punk Londoners Savages were playing near feet away at The Basement and the delayed Spiritualized show was finally showing face at the Wexner Center. Needless to say, choosing the night’s show was a challenging choice to make, and, honestly, were it not for this assignment, I may have very well chosen something more subdued than QOTSA. But I was in no way dismayed, considering I can attribute much of my musical taste now to 2002’s “Songs for the Deaf.” I still felt an aura of nostalgia and excitement for the night.
LC shows, more so than any other venue in Columbus, boast a crisper sound with a capacity that can handle the mid to high-level acts that come through — all without the distance of an arena. Such was the case with QOTSA, when guitarist/front man Josh Homme’s lyrics were diluted, it was done so by clean, pristine guitar riffs (more on this later) as opposed to blown speakers and feedback. After several shows at bars and other low-capacity venues, this reviewer is thankful.
It should not take more than a few listens to realize that QOTSA is a straight up hard rock band. Even with specks of psychedelic rock, punk and garage rock, there’s not a whole lot of room for embellishing the band’s descriptor. That said, hard rock’s often a genre into which your Three Days Graces/Puddle of Mudds/Buckcherrys get pigeonholed. QOTSA is not—I repeat—not that band.
QOTSA is more refined, with an actual sense of accomplishment. The band’s basic structure is that of heavy, driving tunes formed around a stern, prickled riff. Their sound steers past prog-rock’s vestigial jamming and length while maintaining its orchestration, then dives into an exuberant punk yet equally dark energy, a la Motorhead. Case-in-point: “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire,” “No One Knows” and pretty much every other song performed from “Songs for the Deaf” (show closer “A Song For the Dead” was a noteworthy one).
It was the band’s recent “…Like Clockwork” that spurred the tour in the first place. Although a behemoth of a record, live cuts from this record suffered the same fate new songs always do: Unless they’re played early, concert-goers largely ignore new songs in anticipation of the band playing that classic song from the previous record next. “My God is the Sun,” which opened the set, encapsulated the vitality of attendees, unlike “Kalopsia” later in the evening.
It takes time for bands to reach the LC level–so to speak–but it yields a great return for fans that choose to support an artist to reach that point. There were some seriously dedicated folks, especially within the five-beer periphery of the pit in which I stood. They were all older, too, giving the impression that they grew up with the band. Although the night’s bangers gave “Songs for the Deaf” a heavy hand as opposed to much of the records after that, QOTSA were admired for the hard-rock prowess and for just putting on a show in Columbus.