INDIANAPOLIS — Last Friday saw Queens Of The Stone Age drop by the TCU Ampitheater along with two opening acts in Jenny Beth and The Viagra Boys.
Beginning with the opening acts, both Jenny Beth and The Viagra Boys bring their own distinct twists on the rock and roll genre. With her song “I’m The Man” audiences were taken for a rollercoaster ride of a distorted, in-your-face, rock track that ends with a piano interlude that sets the crowd at ease before reprising it’s distorted attitude to end the song. Beth’s performance as a whole is very atmosphere driven. The instrumentation and vocals are all meant to create different feelings of tension and relief as her set progresses.
The Viagra Boys on the other hand felt less like they cared about the atmosphere and more about the intensity felt by their presence. The Swedish band certainly doesn’t hide from who they are at their core, with a song like “Punk Rock Loser” their identity is very much worn on the bands sleeve. The band does not settle for just the punk sound though, as other songs they performed like “Ain’t Nice” and “Research Chemicals” also come with their own electronic dance sound that feel like they could heard in sweaty underground clubs across the country. Visually every member of the band stands out like their own unique sore thumb. The lead singer, shirtless and covered in tattoos standing next to a guitarist who was dressed straight out of an 80’s hair metal cover band. The Viagra Boys certainly aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea but for those who prefer the oddities that punk music has to offer they will certainly be a regular in your playlists.
Then came the main event, Queens Of The Stone Age. On this tour the band certainly is operating under the “give the crowd what they want” philosophy. The band was welcomed to the stage with Peggy Lee’s “Smile” playing over the sound system only to immediately break into arguably their most popular song, “No One Knows” The crowd erupted with the same intensity that lead singer Josh Homme strummed his guitar with from the opening chords.
Homme’s performance on stage is filled with small little displays of showmanship that go a long way. Shaking his leg in tune with the rhythm of each song, small waves and blown kisses to members of the audience. When a soft spotlight is shown on him as he interacts between songs, it creates this air of intimacy that pushes aside the fact that thousands are packed into the TCU Ampitheater lawn and seats just for them.
Speaking of crowd interaction, after playing six songs Homme gave the crowd a chance to vote on the next tune to be performed. Judging by crowd reaction they would either play “I Sat By The Ocean” or “The Evil Has Landed.” In what to me felt like a rare occasion the crowd reaction was a dead tie between the two songs as one could audibly hear different parts of the crowd cheer equally for both songs. Homme recognized this and decreed that in the case of a tie, both songs must be played. Doing some sleuthing on their setlist.fm page, I don’t believe this was a situation where both songs being played was meant to be the outcome. One can see that their past performances have included one song or the other but not both. Congratulations to Indianapolis on forcing the bands hand by creating a tie, you might have earned yourself an extra song that night.
This tour is in support of the band’s newest album, “In Times New Roman…” and they sprinkled new tunes through out the setlist like, “Emotion Sickness” and “Carnavoyeur” but in my opinion made the right choice of not bumping any of the hits off the setlist in place of new tracks. All in all the show was everything fans wanted and expected to see out of QOTSA. A high-energy, high-impact, rock & roll show where each member was perfectly in sync with the other. Fans were sent home with the same intensity that opened the show as “Song For The Dead” closed out the encore performance with the addition of a drum solo from drummer Jon Theodore. The final memory I have of the show is the crowd lit up through bursts of light from the stage headbanging, head-shaking, and jumping with just as much energy as they displayed when the show began.
Shows Coming To Indy:
Tuesday, Sept. 26th – St. Paul and The Broken Bones – Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
Thursday, Sept. 28th – Here Come The Mummies – The Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
Friday, Sept. 29th – Ringo Starr and His All-Star Band – Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
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