SHOW REVIEW: Queens of the Stone Age (May 1st 2018 Bayfront Amphitheater)

Queens of the Stone Age. Photo by John Eaton.

“And They Say Miami isn’t a rock and roll town.”  Queens of the Stone Age front man / stage banter specialist Josh Homme mused to the 3,000 alt rockers, metalheads and punks gathered at Bayfront Amphitheater.  “You’re not just (beat box techno beat) – you’re a rock and roll town and don’t you forget it!”

Homme’s message of acceptance followed a double shot of dance rock from their new album “Villains.” Opener “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now”  is a rump shaker that could easily be mega-mixed with The Eagles disco rocker “Life in the Fast Lane.” Disco beats, hand claps, synths and Gang of Four guitar funk dominated the 5 songs the Queens played from their new album “Villains.”  It was a “you put peanut butter in my chocolate / you put chocolate in my peanut butter” musical meld. While the great majority of fans wore the standard uniform of black t-shirts, QOTSA is a band you can bring a date to. Those dates were happy to have a danceable beat.

“Yeah, clap with us.” Homme encouraged, as he got the lay of the land. “That means you, guy in the striped shirt. Yeah, I see you!”

In the more musically stringent ’90s underground scene from which Homme and QOTSA emerged from 20 years ago, the same rock and roll street cred doubts Homme dismissed may have been expressed towards his new material. Homme’s stated interest in dancing and his hiring of Bruno Mars producer Mark Ronson could easily have triggered “sellout” cries from basement dwellers 20 years ago, when it was still possible to sell enough records to make “selling out” commercially viable.

One silver lining to the death of the music industry, is that concept is laughable today. If QOTSA wants to make dance rock to after spending decades making music to slam dance to, that’s OK.

Lest any fool think QOTSA has gone soft, Homme spent a good half the set taunting the overgrowth of downtown Miami. First with the window rattler “You think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like aA Millionaire.”  He then jeered the 1% penthouse apartment overlooking the stage from across Biscayne Boulevard.  “Hey you, in the penthouse up there! GO FUCK YOURSELF!”

As that overgrowth has claimed three rock clubs in the past few years, Homme’s rant was spot on. As yuppies continue to move into nightlife areas for the sole purpose of filing noise complaints,  a preemptive shot from the stage was more than justified.

Queens of the Stone Age. Photo by John Eaton.

In between dance numbers, clapping advice and burners, QOTSA mixed in 8 tunes from their three previous albums. Gary Numan’s hairpiece could be felt in in the “Like Clockwork” New Wave groover “If I Had A Tail.” “My God is the Sun” opened with maracas and closed with a ferocious jackhammer hardcore beat. Post punk guitar lines called and responded like the Reverend Cleofus & his congregation in “The Blues Brothers”.

Homme testified that he was battling the flu, and his voice was shot. “I’m ready to scream all night for you, Miami!” The 305 responded with an approving roar.

QOTSA brought it home via two rollicking “Songs For The Deaf:” set closer “Go With The Flow” and encore “A Song For The Dead.”  As the galloping guitar into  “A Song For The Dead” gave way to a mighty Hendrixian riff,  the crowd  melded into a headbanging mass. You could feel every ounce of energy QOTSA had hit the stage before the band staggered off, happily spent.

If Rip Van Winkle passed out after QOTSA’s 2003  Culture Room gig with Turbonegro and woke up just in time to catch the train from Fort Lauderdale to Bayfront 15 years later – he may have been confused by how happy his feet were, but wouldn’t have one lost step to report.

 

**Slider image courtesy of Nasty Little Man. © Andreas Neumann**

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Tom Bowker is roughly as large as his life. He is best known for his 12-year tenure as the Ringmaster of the Weird World of Blowfly.

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