Queens of the Stone Age Rock Snowy Brooklyn Like a Hurricane
Fans didn’t let a little snow, sleet and rain stop them from enjoying Queens of the Stone Age‘s headlining show at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Saturday (Dec. 14). The band is touring behind ‘…Like Clockwork,’ their first album in six years, and oblivious to the elements, New York City showed up in full force, hungry for new tunes and old faves alike.
The marquee might have read Queens of the Ice Age, given the frigid weather, but the group has 15 years under its belt, and its music has become the soundtrack to many lives. These desert-rock riff mongers appeal to people of all ages and ethnicities and all walks of life, and on Saturday, some trudged up to the massive venue dressed as Santa.
Frontman Josh Homme and his crew pulled no punches as they kicked off the night with ‘You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire’ off of their 2007 release ‘Songs For the Deaf,’ and just like on the record, they dove into ‘No One Knows’ next.
As much as fans love the old stuff, they were just as excited when the group performed songs from the Grammy-nominated album ‘…Like Clockwork,’ such as the title track, ‘My God Is the Sun,’ ‘Smooth Sailing’ and ‘Kalopsia.’ The band radiated renewed energy, and they obviously took pride in bashing out the new material. There was a special force behind ‘If I had a Tail,’ as the thousands of Queens heads sang out the infectious verse: “Gitchy, gitchy / Ooh la la / Da doo ron ron / You wont get far.”
Just as each QOTSA song has it’s own sonic personality, each gets its own powerful animated visual in the live setting. For ‘I Sat By the Ocean,’ the backdrop featured skulls drifting across a bloody ocean. On ‘I Never Came,’ somber blue light filled the arena, and birds flew across the massive screen behind the group.
Of course, the floor turned into an all-out party during upbeat favorites such as ‘Little Sister’ and ‘Go With the Flow.’ Later, Homme told the crowd, “I have something we can all sing together,” and sure enough, he and the entire arena showed off their impressive falsettos with a poignant performance of ‘Make It Wit Chu.’
Queens of the Stone Age are masters at changing the mood and energy of their fans, and they can go from soothing and sensual to swift and relentless in the flick of an eye. That’s exactly what they did as they hit the roof with ‘Sick, Sick, Sick.’
Amid endless cheering, the band graced the stage for an encore. Homme came out with a beer and cigarette and sat behind the piano for a moving rendition of ‘The Vampyre of Time and Memory.’ Just when Homme was getting mushy with the crowd, fans exploded into a frenzy as the speedy riffs of ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’ took hold.
The night ended with an everlasting version of ‘A Song For the Dead.’ All told, fans got 20 songs in just over two hours. The energetic set was well worth braving the elements for, and next time, if Mother Nature wishes to thwart the Queens and keep folks away, she might try tornadoes, though even that wouldn’t be enough.
Those who showed up early caught a stellar opening set from electro-tinged blues-punk duo the Kills. Frontwoman Alison Mosshart and guitarist Jamie Hince brought plenty of power as they fused genres, and Mosshart mesmerized the crowd with her twirls. Her gritty stage presence and raspy voice give her a decidedly old-school vibe, like a New Millennium Janis Joplin.