Queens Of The Stone Age

support The Dough Rollers
author PP date 08/05/11 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Queens Of The Stone age playing their self-titled debut from 1998 live in its entirety is a rare event, one that you'll probably only get to witness once-in-a-lifetime unless you were actually there thirteen years ago and even then their set wouldn't consist of the whole album in this order. Especially at a club sized venue like Store Vega. Yours truly set his alarm clock to disgustingly early in the morning in order to make sure at least one Rockfreaks.net correspondent would be in attendance to share what you guys missed out on...except it only occurred to me earlier this week that this is no normal QOTSA show but a special tour for their debut album, the only record by the band that can't be - in this scribe's opinion - judged as a particularly interesting album. At least not when compared to the four albums that followed thereafter. But before we go any further, lets deal with the supporting act tonight.

The Dough Rollers

If you think about it, there aren't very many bands in existence today that play a sound that's similar enough to Queens Of The Stone Age to enable accurate and honest parallels to be drawn in between them. Maybe that's why Homme & co decided to go all out in their choice of a supporting band, hiring an old school blues/country band to warm up the crowd instead. A good choice, considering large portions of it are approaching their 30s or have already surpassed that mark, because The Dough Rollers look and sound like someone time-machined them straight out of the western country-n-roll era of the 60s. In other words, old people's music that has little relevance in today's musical climate.

Though originating from New York, vocalist Malcolm Ford and guitarist Jack Byrne have together crafted a sound that's as classic southern rock'n'roll as it gets, back from the era when that genre meant something entirely different than today. Ford also sports the welcoming warmth and americana swagger in his voice of your stereotypical American from the south (the one depicted in movies, that is), much in the same way as Brian Fallon from The Gaslight Anthem does. What it means is that in between songs, he sounds like the friendliest and most sympathetic guy tonight, so establishing a connection between the crowd is effortless for him. The problem is, however, that their music in all honesty isn't very interesting precisely because it is so retrospect and dated. Sure, they take the room back a few decades for a good half an hour's worth of music, but I couldn't help but eye my watch and wondering how many songs they are going to play after the novelty wore off.


Queens Of The Stone Age

Just before Homme & co enter the stage for an evening's worth of QOTSA entertainment, you could observe strange sticks hanging from the ceiling which look a little like lights. They aren't used for anything in the first forty-five minutes, but you could definitely foresee that they would be used for something awesome later on during their set. They add to an element of suspension in the air as people are either too bewildered or confused to know what to think about an album originally released thirteen years ago. But then Josh Homme comes on stage and the band slowly get into "Regular John" with no introductions or explanations to the crowd. If you've seen QOTSA before, you'll already know this, but they are an extremely cool band in terms of appearance. They're playing groovy rock'n'roll riffs and Homme himself looks like a laid back rock star in the classic sense of the word, but with just enough indie rock hipness to give him that aura of untouchable, raw coolness.

While that usually spells arrogance for most bands, it's oddly fitting for a band of QOTSA's caliber that they rarely communicate with the crowd, especially since they are performing their very first album in its entirety for the first time. Right before "If Only", the third track, he finally approaches the mic and simply says "Hey, fucking fantastic to see you, I hope you enjoy our whole first record", before the band plays another three or four songs without any unnecessary breaks in between. The crowd reception is rather mild at this stage, however, with most people choosing to watch and nod along aside from the crazy first few rows (as usual). I suspect it might have something to do with the high average age of attendees, or that most people feel like me, that this is a cool experience but the old songs just don't measure up to the rest of the band's repertoire.

Mr. Homme loosens up towards the end of their album set, throwing remarks like "you guys have rollercoasters in the middle of the city, how fucking cool is that?" around, even chuckling a bit, which helps the mood immensely. So far it's been uber-cool, renowned stoner rock record which everyone is taking extremely seriously, but now the crowd feels markedly more awake, re-energized by that small bit of interaction. It of course also helps that Homme performs an impressive one-handed solo that goes on for what seems like an eternity shortly afterwards, which will undeniably become a memory to cherish for everyone who was there tonight. It's moments like these which convince me that a rock show is the greatest live experience in existence, trampling even the best of hip hop, dance, pop etc acts and their huge shows in the process.

And so the album ends, but there's an encore during which the sticks finally fall from the ceiling, filling all space on stage in and around the band. They act as an awesome hanging digital screen split into a couple of dozen pieces, and give the stage some more life, something which it was in dire need considering the semi-static performance given by the band because of the straight-forwardness of the old material. "What do you guys want to hear?", asks homme, which seems to be a genuine question that the band fulfills to the best of their ability (from their own discography, of course), given all nights have had very different songs presented in the encore. And so we get stuff like "Burn The Witch", "Make It Wit Chu", "Little Sister", "Feel Good Hit Of The Summer" and "Go With The Flow", all of which make the crowd go crazy. They certainly don't leave any question as to what songs the crowd preferred tonight, because the amount of movement and sing-a-long is multiple times higher from that during "Queens Of The Stone Age"-songs. Maybe that says something about the record, I don't know, but one thing's for sure: the final songs converted a show which felt merely decent into something a little more interesting, though one was left wishing for way more crowd involvement (aside from the first three rows) from where I was standing.

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