Last updated on September 25th, 2023 at 04:35 pm
Playing Minneapolis for the first time in nearly six years, Queens of the Stone Age rocked a capacity crowd at The Armory for their The End is Nero tour, with openers that perfectly complemented their personality and energy.
Josh Homme and company started on the offensive immediately, opening with “No One Knows.” The first half hour or so was a perfect mix of their catalog, with “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret” launching into “Smooth Sailing” to showcase the band’s powerful guitars and Homme’s strong mix of vocal styles.
Highlights were also new tracks from In Times New Roman: the funky “Emotion Sickness” and thoroughly pulsing “Carnavoyeur.” Homme encouraged the crowd to dance and do whatever they wanted to have fun, “but just don’t [expletive] with anyone.” The message was well received.
A nice touch came during “Make It Wit Chu,” a song that always seems to involve a back-and-forth with the crowd singing the chorus. During some extended guitar, Homme segued into vocals from The Rolling Stones’ “Miss You” while the guitars responded in turn with Stones’ chords. It was one of those “hey those really work together” moments.
Near the end of the show, Homme paid homage to Mark Lanegan, the former lead singer of the band who passed away in February of 2022. While the band played songs from Lanegan’s time with them, Homme also referred to “God is in the Radio” as “his [Lanegan’s] song.”
Ultimately and fittingly the band closed with “A Song For The Dead,” a Lanegan track that is arguably the most essential song in his Queens of the Stone Age contributions. It was a perfect, heavy guitar-filled closing to an almost two-hour set for a capacity crowd. (There was no encore, Homme told the crowd they weren’t doing the “fake go-away-then-come-back” thing.)
The concert had two openers; prior to the headliner, The Viagra Boys entertained the crowd with their beer-drinking, short shorts wearing, classic punk rock sound. Coming off a popular show at First Avenue this year, their hits like “Slow Learner,” “Punk Rock Loser,” and “Sports” helped the audience fill in and get excited.
The somewhat sentimental story of how the band met while playing sports juxtaposed beautifully against the lyrics to that song: “Getting high in the morning/not answering calls/volleyball/beach ball/surfboard/baseballs.”
Leading off the night was Jehnny Beth, who was more electronic than the bands following her. She sang on top of speakers, went into the crowd with a corded mic, and packed impressive vocals and theatrics into her 20-minute set. While singing “More Adrenaline,” she fueled the crowd for the hours of rock to come.
Overall, it was a night of rock and energy fit for an empire, and even better, nothing burned down.