Queens of the Stone Age

Voodoo

October 29, 2005

BY JASON SONGE


Josh Homme held two beach balls together above his head and said, "New Orleans has big balls." The lead singer and guitarist for Queens of the Stone Age spent most of his banter time in between songs lauding New Orleanians for their resilience after the hurricane. He told people to keep their heads up, and he also used the opportunity to criticize the government for the insufficient amount of support they've given people affected by the hurricane. Homme urged the crowd at the Voodoo Music Experience Saturday afternoon to write their congressman or senator because, as he said, "they count every e-mail as 4,000 people."

The love for New Orleans didn't end there. Homme described the city as a "home away from home," and he introduced "Long Slow Goodbye" as a love song for New Orleans. This is what local fan Xtian had to say about the show on QOTSA's message forum:

"I lost everything in KUNTrina and just seeing (hearing) these guys and having a chance to meet and have a few words w/ Josh backstage meant more to me than anyone could imagine. I was afraid that I'd have to make it to Memphis to see the show but thanks to the generosity of all of the artists that day, I was able to jam in my hometown(what's left of it) New Orleans."

As with many of the other songs on QOTSA's fourth album, "Lullabies to Paralyze," "Goodbye" was a strolling, dark romancer that spotlighted Homme's falsetto.

QOTSA, a Joshua Tree, CA, band known for their artsy(i.e. cowbells, handclaps, unusual time signatures, open-hearted lyrics) take on metal and stoner rock, slowed down and stretched out on their last album. Just like the Doors, if you listen to "Lullabies" in the dark, you will be scared. Nick Cave comes to mind.

Surprisingly, QOTSA only played three songs from their new album at Voodoo. The hour-long set was heavy on material from their second album, "Rated R." The group paused in the middle of songs for dramatic effect a few times, but other than that, the live songs sounded like their recorded counterparts. The band was tight, and drummer Joey Castillo's monstrous fills somehow landed back on the 2 and 4. Troy Van Leeuwan switched back and forth between the guitar and the keyboard, while Alain Johannes played the bass. Van Leeuwan's back-up vocals made the music even more haunting.

Even though their music is often headbangable, QOTSA's songs can make you dance. The guitar rhythms in "Little Sister" were pretty infectious, while the beat of "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" sounded perfect for a tribal prance around the fire.

The band didn't have a particular look going. Castillo blew bubbles shirtless, while Homme wore a Southwestern Hawaiian shirt and a slicked, muted pompadour. Johannes wore a black skiing cap and looked like he could just as easily be breaking into your place, while Van Leeuwen was the eiptome of cool in his tailored three piece suit and silver sunglasses.

The show was great, but I've seen them in a more intimate setting at the House of Blues a few years back. The energy exchanged the band and the crowd was more palpable there. Still, the Queens always bring a good show, no matter what the surroundings. They wallop and then put you to sleep.


Setlist:


Monsters In The Parasol
Feel Good Hit
Go With the Flow
Lost Art of Keeping a Secret
Avon
Mexicola
Regular John
I Think I Lost My Headache
Song for the Dead
Burn the Witch
Long Slow Goodbye
Little Sister
No One Knows


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