The Hult Center took a break from more urbane offerings Saturday night, Jan. 27, to rock faces off. West Coast darlings Eagles of Death Metal revved up the room with raunchy desert tunes (and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme joining them on drums). Queens then delivered a 19-song set that obliterated the outside world.
Always in-your-face lead EoDM singer Jesse Hughes welcomed fans, declaring “I’m a man, I’m a man.” Shit, goddamn, there was that immediate tranquilizing oblivion of a razor sharp axe ripping above crunchy riffs. After the EoDM shredded through Bowie’s Ziggy-era “Moonage Daydream,” Hughes welcomed co-founder and QotSA front man Homme to man the sticks on an extended version of “Speaking in Tongues.” (Which even included a bass solo via Jennie Vee. Bass solo, bro.)
The rotating rock circus that is Queens of the Stone Age then displayed the taut rock interpretation that is their seventh album, Villains. This version of QotSA injects a dark, direct pop into its bombastic Palm Desert satire. This was on display with “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now,” with spectators bouncing to Homme’s fat riff under Dean Fertita’s sinister funk lead.
Experimentation with dancey, mindful metal is one thing, but no one quite knows how to detonate a room like QotSA. This was true when QotSA reached into the wayback machine to blow up the whole damn building with “No One Knows,” from 2002’s Songs for the Deaf.
The crowd’s faces properly melted. QotSA cooled things back to a slow burn with the Iggy-Pop inspired “Domesticated Animals,” another example of Homme’s poignant affect on the new record. Stoking this rebel’s consternation with the psycho-gonzo “Smooth Sailing,” QotSA released a catastrophic crescendo with “Sister, Sister” and “Sick, Sick, Sick,” shaking the rafters in concert with the crowd’s howl.
After an encore apropos of the Stone Age with “Songs for the Dead,” the lights came up, a third set of drum sticks got tossed to fans, and the crowd headed out, vibrations still hissing through ears, that murmur of sharing refuge — bouncing, sweating and head banging weekday concerns away. Queens fuckin’ rock.