|Review by: Jean Hsu of NY Rock
Queens of the Stone Age are a damn fine band, and they know it. You can see it in their performance and in their rabid fans, who packed the floor and balcony as the show began. Early on, lead vocalist Josh Homme declared "we're not fucking around," as Nick Oliveri slammed his bass on the stage, in true '80s thrash-rock style (leaving me with the desperate hope that he'd revive the lost art of humping his instrument during the show). True enough, the Queens did not fuck around as they kept the crowd in a constant trance, drifting from pure Led Zeppelin to a dreamy, jammy, heavier Phish, from flirtation with Homme-sung surf punk to a few Oliveri-voiced songs reminiscent of Marilyn Manson, all the while displaying their respective musical talents (drummer Gene Trautmann played some mighty fine percussion, and a musician named Brendan sat in on guitar, pedal steel, and keyboard). Rather than making the band seem lopsided, however, the band's eclecticism gave their otherwise down-to-earth rock a unique feel.
Obviously getting their kicks onstage, the Queens rocked in front of a video projection of a large eye and of a sound wave attuned to Oliveri's godforsaken bass. Charismatic (onstage Homme looks like a wholesome Eric Stolz contrasted with Oliveri's metal-rocker shaved head and foot-long goatee) and confidently polished, the band started their set with a sweetly sung drug mantra, whose refrain went something like "nicotine, marijuana, (fill-in-the-blank drug), ecstasy" and progressed into a little ditty about cocaine. Those were the only words I caught throughout the entire show, but anyway, you get the point. Which is that lyrics are not their strong suit, but during their performance you couldn't care less. In any case, you'll probably forget about trying to hear the words when Oliveri struts out for the encore ass-naked, to regale the audience with his naughty bits.
His mighty Himmaleh in full-effect, Oliveri and the band played two more almost pop-oriented songs, then left the audience to hang around in the lights pleased and wanting more. Expectations were high coming in, as the Queens have been lauded from critic to critic, but the band put out (regardless of however much the guy in front of center stage may have wanted Nick to put it back in), and the overall show was a success, though maybe a little short. Even so, none of the jabbering fans around me complained, and though I confess that this sort of music is not my typical bag, I was left with a nice fuzzy feeling, which may or may not have been tinnitus. Still, whether you're into the so-called "stoner rock," you can't deny good skills, and Queens of the Stone Age have evolved well into the modern rock scene.