Queens of the Stone Age, Chelsea Wolfe
Thursday, Jan. 30
Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh
The South is notorious for its habit of essentially shutting down (Hey, Atlanta.) after only a few inches of anything wintry. Following a couple days of being cooped indoors, some people in the Raleigh area found the release they needed at Thursday night’s sold-out Queens of the Stone Age concert in Memorial Auditorium.
It began with opener Chelsea Wolfe, whose dark, sometimes droning heaviness offered a fittingly slow start to the thaw. Her ghostly vocals wafted through a hazy atmosphere, with barrages of guitar and drums puncturing the would-be still. Her goth rock complemented the headliners, though the sometimes-glacial pace of her music probably didn’t always endear her to the most stir-crazy attendees. “You can’t sing. Now, show us your tits,” yelled one bro twice between songs. You can’t let some folks out of the house, even for a rock show…
Queens of the Stone Age burst open with the crunchy boogie of Songs for the Deaf opener “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire,” chasing it with the chug and bounce of their biggest hit, “No One Knows.” The band hardly let up at all, with pulverizing riffs and lumbering grooves arriving one after another. Queens worked through a career-spanning set that included nearly all of its Grammy-nominated latest disc, …Like Clockwork, and most of the singles from its back catalog.
The quintet—including former The Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore, the most recent addition to bandleader Josh Homme’s revolving collective—fed off the pent-up energy of the crowd, whose call-and-response vocals on “Burn The Witch” were particularly loud. Though slinky tracks like “Make it Wit Chu” and “Smooth Sailing” got the audience dancing, full-bore rockers like “Little Sister” and “Sick, Sick, Sick” clearly drew the biggest reactions.
QOTSA may have saved the best for last, kicking off its encores with the piano-driven sing-along “The Vampyre of Time and Memory” before shifting into high gear with the drug-fueled chant “Feel Good Hit of the Summer.” The start-and-stop dynamics of “A Song for the Dead” forced an eruption of fans out of the auditorium’s rows and into the aisles.