Live Shots: Queens of the Stone Age, Fox Theater, 4/11/11

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Racing up and down the pavement on Telegraph Avenue, the scalpers were grinding hard outside the Fox Theater on Monday night, perhaps with an inkling that the venue might not be standing by the time the Queens of the Stone Age left the stage in a few hours. True to form, Josh Homme and crew all but blew the Fox to pieces with a monstrous rendering of their debut album, as well as two hefty encores that showcased the stoner age rock royalty in all of their primal glory.

Winding down a ferocious “Walkin’ on the Sidewalks” behind their Mongol-on-a-warpath drummer Joey Castillo, keyboardist Dean Fertita (recently of Dead Weather fame) dialed up the intro for Homme to lay into the sleazy start-and-stop riff of “You Would Know.”  They were barely a half dozen songs in, but it was apparent that the juggernaut assault of the Queens' self-titled debut was offering the audience a glimpse into the band’s nerve center, to the raw and infectious source of one of the best rock outfits of the past decade.

Though his has been dubbed stoner rock, Homme seems to have delved deeply into his Southern California music environment, with traces of Jane’s Addiction-channeling-Zeppelin against Hollywood glam and a dark dose of Doors psychedelia. Songs like “Mexicola” and “You Can’t Quit Me Baby” matched live wire energy against stunning musicianship. 

The following encores included a great cross section of the band’s more recent material, with radio hits “Little Sister” and “Go With the Flow” receiving the biggest ovations. But it was a pair of fan favorites – “Better Living Through Chemistry” and “Song for the Dead” – that capped off the performance with proper might, and caused you to wonder why so few live shows these days ever achieve such sonic magnitudes.

The crowd spilt out of the theater half dazed and nearly deaf, but mostly satisfied. Although this show at the Fox showcased the Queens at their beginning, it left you anxious for what they will do next.

 

Setlist:

Regular John

Avon

If Only

Walkin’ on the Sidewalks

You Would Know

How to Handle a Rope

Mexicola

Hispanic Impressions

The Bronze

Give the Mule What He Wants

I was a Teenage Hand Model

You Can’t Quit Me Baby

 

Encore:

Monster in the Parasol

Burn the Witch

Make It Wit Chu

Little Sister

 

Encore 2:

Better Living Through Chemistry

Go With the Flow

A Song For the Dead