As emo reigns elsewhere, Queens of the Stone Age rock Riot Fest

Nuanced sound made for one of the best-sounding sets of the weekend at Douglass Park.

SHARE As emo reigns elsewhere, Queens of the Stone Age rock Riot Fest
Josh Homme performs with Queens of the Stone Age on Day Two of Riot Fest in Douglass Park.

Josh Homme performs with Queens of the Stone Age on Day Two of Riot Fest in Douglass Park.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Breaking the chain link connection Saturday night between Death Cab for Cutie and the subsequent Postal Service set at Riot Fest was the heavy rock hammer from Queens of the Stone Age.

With 11 electric saucers flying in a million different music directions on tracks like “No One Knows” and “Negative Space,” it was a welcome reprieve from the emo-indie onslaught that bookended the rest of the night on the main stages.

Some were wishing on a hope and prayer that Dave Grohl might have stuck around to join his former cohorts in the saucy desert rock band for a few numbers (the Foos frontman contributed to QOTSA’s breakthrough album, 2002’s “Songs for the Deaf” and has the Them Crooked Vultures supergroup with Queens’ Josh Homme), but it never came to fruition.

Not that QOTSA needed any extra assistance. Homme along with guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, keyboardist Dean Fertita, bassist Michael Shuman and drummer Jon Theodore were a dynamic force whose nuanced noise structure came alive in one of the best-sounding sets of the weekend thus far. From the pretty piano intro rework of “Go With the Flow” to the punishing guitar slides on new track “Emotion Sickness” to the percussive “Little Sister” (“It’s got a lotta cowbell so watch your ass,” Homme warned), it felt like Queens brought their studio to Douglass Park.

And with the pragmatic pyramid-shaped light show, it became even more hypnotic. The set was not only a great promo machine for the band’s newest album, “In Times New Roman…,” but also a perfect reminder to dive back into its entire catalog. — Selena
Fragassi


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