A Return To The Stone Age

In a poor economy, the concert business has struggled with many acts downsizing shows or canceling them altogether as attendance dips. This forces artists to get more creative, which in turn benefits the fans.

The trend among rock artists is to play entire albums live, straight through. The latest band to revisit a classic album in its entirety is Queens of the Stone Age. They are playing their 1998 self-titled debut album during their short club trek through North America, including Manhattan’s Terminal 5 on Friday March 25.

Josh Homme, the abrasive, undeniably rock-and-roll frontman of QOTSA, is a man who seemingly never stops working. From his early days with Kyuss to his side project Eagles of Death Metal and supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, not to mention his collaborations with dozens of artists — he knows how to put on a show. There’s no denying that Friday at Terminal 5 was a show full of tracks for mostly hardcore fans.

Even Homme acknowledged this as he brought up halfway through the set that they were playing the first album. Most everyone knows, he stated, “There’s always one guy who has no idea. To that guy, f*** you,” he said with a smile, adding “But in the nicest way possible. Like fudge you.”

And so it was the whole show: Homme was a little more lighthearted than usual but still had his sardonic moments, which makes his fans adore him but would probably alienate fans outside of the rock world. That’s fine for Homme; he throws out the old school, rock-hard, party-hard, work-hard vibe more than any modern rock artist and loves the artist who created that lifestyle.

Before playing “Hispanic Impressions,” which is an instrumental that sounds like a Mexican rock band performing an Irish jig, he acknowledged it was about realizing no matter how hard you try “you can never be as good as Hendrix.”

After playing the album’s laid-back, bitingly funny closer “I Was a Teenage Hand Model,” they returned to the stage for an encore that included “Turning on the Screw,” which worked the crowd into an absolute frenzy. They played a couple of fan favorites until the last song of the night – during a second encore, no less – and Homme announced in a very matter-of-fact manner, “This is a song people know.”

As the band ripped into their breakout hit “No One Knows,” and the casual fans in the back who didn’t do much jumping and moshing during the show started to headbang, it was clear that Homme was thinking: “Fudge you.”