"Happy Saturday, y'all," Josh Homme half-mumbled to the crowd at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, raising a glass toward its fabulously trashed rafters. It was Friday, but same diff. When you're in hard-rock party monsters Queens of the Stone Age, the week is one long blur anyway.
Good-natured hedonism has long been the driving force behind the band's hip-swiveling, sledgehammering rock'n'roll. But after Homme kicked a female photographer at a concert last month—among other distressing behavior—it's become fair to wonder if the party is starting to catch up to them.
There was no such incident in Portland, but the show had issues of its own. A big one was the sound. The guitars were cranked at the expense of every other instrument, immolating the groove of opener "If I Had a Tail" and almost everything that came after in ear-piercing treble. The long, malleable light-up beanpoles placed around the stage were distracting and obstructive—and from an optics point of view, it didn't help that the band kept compulsively kicking at them. And Homme seemed more disengaged than normal, with much more energy coming from bassist Michael Shuman.
After an encore of "Songs for the Deaf," Homme hobbled offstage with a noticeable limp. Some on Twitter called it karmic retribution for last month's random act of violence. But it might have been the final confirmation that what the band really needs right now is an extended vacation.
All photos by Henry Cromett.