Written by Mark White
Photos by Joe Guzman
Toyota Music Factory cranked out another superb rock show on Sunday night when QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE hit the stage delivering a top-notch performance that had the audience stoked and screaming for more. And more is what they got. When the lights dimmed, and the band opened with their hit single “No One Knows” the crowd was hooked.
Lead singer Josh Homme proved why QOTSA has been a successful act for 27 years with his signature smooth vocals blending with the band’s hard-hitting riffs and new drummer Jon Theodore’s hard-hitting drums. The band’s setlist showcased their versatility and had the crowd singing along to classics like “No One Knows” and “Little Sister”.
The chemistry between the band members was undeniable with each musician contributing to their very tight performance. The seemingly effortless solos by guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen added depth and a little attitude to the songs along with a powerful beat and energy level.
The hits kept coming with “Carnavoyeur”, “Paper Machete” from their 2023 album In Times New Roman, and chart topper “Make it wit chu”. In the middle of their set a fan tossed a six-sided cube with song titles onto the stage. Josh kicked it to see which random song would be played next. When the cube landed, he said, “Not that one” and played “Avon”. Next, he asked the crowd what they wanted to hear and performed “Sick Sick Sick”.
The bass player Michael Shuman added an aura of confidence and showmanship to the band utilizing the space around him and accentuating his strokes on the bass guitar to rev the crowd. His blonde spiked hair and wife beater undershirt added to the entertainment value and attitude on stage.
When the band’s The End is Nero tour was announced in June the band issued an invitation in a press release. They said “we would like to encourage the obscene and the clean, the outcasts and the weirdos, and anyone and everyone in between to attend, this is where you belong. And they came. It was a very diverse fan base.
The venue appeared to be sold out and was set up with a large open floor (pit) for standing in front of the stage and raised seats in the back making every spot ideal to view the intimate show. The merch booths and concessions were busy although most fans had their eyes on the stage during the performance. The band’s lighting was unusual but very cool because the light towers were slanted from floor to ceiling creating a teepee or pyramid effect that was orchestrated with the music and smoke to enhance the whole rock show experience.
The night opened with the band SPIRITUALIZED touting their ninth album Everything was Beautiful. This eight-piece English band led by J. Spaceman hammered out garage rock and shoegaze music for the smaller group of early arriving fans. With four guitars and two keyboard players, the sound was full and beautifully tweaked by two female backup vocalists. However, at times during their set, it sounded like every musician was going off the rails grooving to their own sound. Sometimes the grooves didn’t mesh……but it was loud.
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE gave their audience what they wanted with two hours of riff-oriented, strong pounding Seattle style rock and roll. The crowd really got into each song and had a great time. Catch a QOTSA show if you can before their “The End is Nero” tour is at its end.