Queens of the Stone Age

Rialto Theatre, Saturday, May 28

Despite lineup changes and drama that lead up to the group's latest release, Lullabies to Paralyze, last week's Queens of the Stone Age show remained a Queens of the Stone Age show--unpredictable, raw and musically dumbfounding.

Saturday night's near-capacity performance at the newly renovated Rialto proved that actions do speak louder than words. QOTSA frontman Joshua Homme never had to utter more than a few choice words in between certain songs of his band's 100-minute set to get his point across. Homme and company let their music do the talking, destroying any doubts regarding the strength of the new ensemble.

Playing against a stripped-down setup that consisted of three banners resembling a forest, the band walked onstage while "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" played over the sound system. A cut from their new album, "Someone's in the Wolf," opened QOTSA's set, played to an interesting light display as the main stage lights flickered on and off to the tempo of the song. This effect caused all band members to play silhouetted to the crowd while the music blasted through the much-improved acoustics of the Rialto.

"Here's a song about fucking," Homme stated simply, after mentioning how the guys (in the crowd) want to hook up with the ladies, before ripping into "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret."

Homme added new guitar solo work to highlight the first two songs of the set. He wasn't the only band member showcasing his various talents onstage--guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen switched to slide guitar for "Burn the Witch" and the closer "You Can't Quit Me Baby," while new drummer Joey Castillo pounded his kit ferociously on "Avon," and came off as a much stronger player in concert.

"We don't want to leave; can we crash at your house?" Homme teased before "Go With the Flow." The band seemed to never want to the leave the stage, and the crowd didn't want them to, either, as they surprisingly moshed and roared in appreciation throughout the night.

The perfect opening band for what was to follow, Eagles of Death Metal (a Homme side project--at least on recordings), played a rockin' 45-minute set which featured former Hole and Motley Crue drummer Samantha Mahoney on the throne. Homme joined the group onstage to play drums on their last song, "Kiss the Devil."

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