Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Queens Of The Stone Age & Chelsea Wolfe @ The Joint/ Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas. 2-13-14.

A brief family visit out of town quickly turned into a full blown rock 'n' roll expedition thanks to this well placed billboard in the middle of the desert.

QOSTA and Chelsea Wolfe? Together...on the same day we were in town. It was a sign (literally) that this show could not be missed. I'd never been to The Joint before, but heard good things about the venue. This totally made up for their sold out show at the Gibson (R.I.P.) that I missed last fall.

I was curious how Chelsea Wolfe's dark and ominous music/vibe would fit such a huge venue (approx 4000 seat capacity), but Ms. Wolfe and co.'s stellar musicianship and total atmospheric assault on the senses made the large concert hall feel like a intimately dank cave of despair...and it was bloody awesome. New tracks off Pain Is Beauty such as "We Hit a Wall" and "House of Metal" sounded so much more hypnotic live and blended in perfectly alongside the brooding jams we all know and love from Apokalypsis ("Mer" "Demons" "Pale on Pale").

After this, only my second time seeing Chelsea Wolfe live, I'm ready to declare her voice a national treasure. It's an ethereal, haunting, and amazingly powerful tool in Ms.Wolfe's arsenal; along with her remarkable songwriting skills and the talented musicians she surrounds herself with, you simply can'y go wrong catching Chelsea Wolfe in concert. Aside from a handful of frat boys dying to start a mosh pit, I'd say most everyone inside The Joint was squarely under Chelsea's spell.

Queens of The Stone Age: Round 5.
A giant screen counted down the moments before QOSTA took the stage. The band's new superhuman drummer, Jon Theodore pummeled his floor tom as he counted off the intro to "...Millionaire," and the crowd inside the venue went nuts. With the opening salvo of "Millionaire" "No One Knows" "Avon" and "My God Is the Sun," Josh Homme and his merry men certainly made the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino live up to it's namesake. The monstrous guitar riffs and the subsequent wall of sound that followed during "Avon" was awe inspiring and sparked memories from my very first Queens show back in 2003.

Josh Homme- Stone Age King
 The band took things down a notch, devoting the mid portion of their set primarily to tracks off their latest album, ...Like Clockwork. These are largely medium to slow paced songs, which found heads bobbing in unison and offered a respite from the frat boy moshing that opened, and would bookend the band's set. I'm not the biggest fan of QOTSA's last record (it's good, but I was hoping for something epic) but I'll be damned if songs like "If I Had a Tail" and "I Sat by the Ocean" don't sound groovy as hell live. The band sprinkled in fan favorites like "Little Sister" and "Make It Wit Chu" in between the ...Like Clockwork section which was fine with me. Something about hearing "Make It Wit Chu" in Vegas/Sin City made the sultry song sound even sexier. "Better Living Though Chemistry" was the biggest surprise of the night. I've never head the song live before and it was great to see Josh shredding his guitar again, especially after spending a good portion of the set crooning/smoking on stage.

The night's ending is a little blurry for me, I was busy deflecting elbows from the raucous mosh pit that erupted during the encore. Playing "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" and "Song for the Dead" back to back just has that effect on people. When I wasn't dodging staggeringly drunk bros at every turn, I tried my best to watch Jon Theodore slay his kit during the final song. As much as I loved Joey Castillo's playing (re: bashing) in QOTSA, I think Theodore brings the perfect blend of power and finesse to the table and is the perfect dude, who isn't Dave Grohl, to sit on the throne. This was probably the best Queens of the Stone Age lineup I've seen since Nick Oliveri left ages ago. Looks like I started the year off right, my first concert of 2014 was a doozy. Thanks random billboard on the I-15fwy, I owe you one.

1 comment:

  1. Having just recently heard Pain is Beauty, I am intensely jealous right now. How dare you have fun when I can't have said fun, sir.