AUSTIN, Texas — Walking onstage sporting a red, slicked-back mohawk mullet, with bottle of vodka in hand, the riff factory known as Josh Homme was ready to get down to business with his old pals Queens
of the Stone Age on Wednesday night. While he was a little busy last year working with a few guys you may have heard of — Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones — in the side project Them Crooked Vultures, Homme is now waxing nostalgic by playing the Queens'
eponymous 1998 debut in its entirety on a new tour. What better place to kick off said trek than the tiny, 1,200-capacity La Zona Rosa at the South by Southwest music festival?
The band wasted no time kicking into "Regular John," which set the tone for the night as Queens pulled the tune off flawlessly. The Queens must have had fun rehearsing the old record, because there were no audible technical mishaps, and no small subtleties were left out as the keypad sounds that began "You Would Know" were heard. After the intense instrumental "Hispanic Impressions," Homme calmed things down — lighting himself a cigarette and taking a swig of his bottle — before serenading the women in the audience with "You Can't Quit Me Baby." Soon, we were all ordered to dance to the thundering drumbeat of "Give the Mule What He Wants." After performing their whole self-titled album, start-to-finish, Queens of the Stone Age came back with an encore full of hits that was nearly as long.
Homme asked the audience for any song requests, and a lucky woman got hers fulfilled when they played the sexy fan-favorite "Make It Wit Chu," from Era Vulgaris. Homme's banter was livelier than ever as he mimicked one concertgoer who sounded like Sammy Hagar ("Paaaaarty!"), and then proceeded to chastise a security guard for spotlighting another fan. "Hey, turn your light off and let the guy film the show if he wants," the singer/guitarist commanded. "Let him do whatever he wants." The comment could not have seemed more appropriate considering that after the next song, Homme handed his bottle of vodka (now half-empty) to the front row of fans. The audience's fervor and intensity was at its highest during "Go With the Flow," which started a small ruckus in the crowd for first time in the night. As Homme shredded away to "Little Sister" from Lullabies to Paralyze, the sad realization came that the night was coming to a close.
Sobriety may work for Eminem, but it has no place in the music world in where Josh Homme lives. Rest assured, if Elvis were alive today, he and Homme would be drinking buddies. Leave it to Queens of the Stone Ago to let the world know that rock and roll is alive and well.
Have you caught Queens of the Stone Age in concert? Share your experiences in the comments.