Queens of the Stone Age played their last show of the tour in Oslo and I was there.
With Gangsta luv on my brain and home watching Snoop dee-oh-double-gee documentary’s, I’d almost forgotten that I was gonna go see Queens of the Stone Age in Oslo Spektrum for their last show of the tour, and with a new album out. Party time, excellent, exiting stuff.
I hadn’t seen Queens since the Roskilde festival in 2003, just after Elin knocked my tooth out. I remembered laughingly how we’d done pass time on the stinking festival grass by playing the game of what musicians we had the most crush on. Joey Castillo was mine that particular day, not sure why, and Elin was mocking me, but hey, not gonna disclose who her crush was. Oh well, moronic Beavis and Butt-head humor at the festival, as it should be. Good times.
I didn’t know then that I was gonna be receiving compliments on the silver tooth I’m now stuck with, and being able to save the day for Hutch, their legendary sound guy, by having rolling paper.
In addition to being a huge Kyuss and stoner and desert rock in general-fan, I’d almost forgotten that I’ve spent a considerable amount of hours listening Queens of the Stone Age (s/t album), R, Songs For The Deaf and Lullabies To Paralyze.
Ben was waiting so I snapped out of the snoop dog haze and got myself downtown.
We had sitting seats, which is boring and was kind of a bummer, but then again, I prefer smaller venues and do that if I can (who doesn’t), now that we where there though, it was nice to be able to see the band and the whole big show well. Also, super comfortable.
The video’s on the backdrop (unique for each song, I think) is the dark and ominous work of Boneface. Teeth and black vertical lines for tree’s, you don’t need 3 classes in psychology to know what kind of atmosphere it’s creating.
The kind of holistic visual appearance of the stage, with the band set up and lights and the big screen, is one of the things one can appreciate at a bigger vs. a smaller venue show.
Oslo Spektrum is not known for its great sound, but we all noticed that it sounded good. Guess that’s why Hutch is the legendary soundman and “The man behind the curtain who never gets credit”. Most importantly: I haven’t noticed before that Josh Homme looks exactly like Elvis, minus the pills and cheeseburgers, plus a guitar, up on the stage (pronounce ‘stage’ with a French accent like Zach Galifianakis does, just do it, its more fun). QOTSA is an excellent live band, and with songs from their latest album, Mr. Homme gets to show off that he actually sings like a God.
Spectrum wasn’t sold out this Sunday night, and the crowd felt a little slow to begin with, I do feel like it did picked up though; as Homme put it “See? -We’re like this one thing now”. I for one appreciated that they didn’t just do that thing where bands play all the new stuff first and then finishes with the hits. Instead, I felt like the concert was a cool mix of hits from the early 2000’s and new material like Kalopsia and …Like clockwork from the new album that made up like a thought through, powerful QOTSA narrative (that’s not to say they didn’t finish with an extended and choreographed version of Feel Good Hit of the Summer).
But anyway, it sort of cranks up the charm factor to about eleven when the front man obviously knows what country and city he’s in (Homme doesn’t keep his Norwegian heritage a secret), says “tusen takk” (thank you) in Norwegian, takes the time to introduce Oslo to the band members (and the band members to Oslo), add just the right amount of appropriately humorous love declarations to the crowd there, you’re able to thaw those Norwegians and turn it into a party.
There have been talks, mainly by the band and Homme himself, about how difficult it’s been to make this last album …Like clockwork that’s been in the making for something like six years, starting out with hellish conditions within the band, my former crush-of-a-day getting fired, there where a near death experience, a full on beef with poster boy for perfect behavior Jay Z, etc. Maybe a tour and, by the looks of the interwebz, rocking the socks off the Wembley arena didn’t hurt, either way, I feel like QOTSA is a very solid live act. Two hours went by pretty fast.
BTW, that album title becomes pretty funny when considering the above, Homme has said something like that guitar solos has become the favorite way of making fun of guitar solos, and that kind of humbleness and humor, being rock stars with a good portion of self-irony probably goes a long way in Norway and with Norwegians, who most likely hold the world record in low threshold for feeling awkward.
My favorite song of the new album is probably ‘If I had a tail’, even if it isn’t the kind of QOTSA song that makes the crowd go the most crayzee, and although it’s good fun and all to google ‘If I had a tail lyrics’ to see what theories people have, *I’m* not even gonna try to go into what the lyrics might “really” mean. I just know it’s dark and twisted and pretty satanic, that’s good enough for me.
Not gonna tell what dick security guard got fired by what front man for being a total dick at the after party, or what Norwegian guitarist got a little too high off of Hutch’s very Californian smoke, but I can reveal as much as that it might have been the very same guitarist that Elin chose as her crush-of-a-day back on that dry stinking festival grass, wink.