So I had this idea of starting a regular series of something, ideally appealing to a large audience. My great friend Michael Liguez suggested that I throw some of my ideas about concerts when I go to them. Now he would be the first to tell you about my candor when it comes to these things. The caveat was that I tone down the "brutal" part of my honesty, not lie, and give my 2 cents on the shows I go to. Since this show involves him in every way, it's fitting that my kickoff review has him as a huge protagonist.
The quick back story is necessary because I'm very much a planner and seldom spontaneous. Michael calls me up Sunday telling me he was given 2 tickets to go hear the Queens of the Stone Age in San Antonio the next day. He convinced me to be his partner in crime for the show that also included a night's stay at El Tropicano hotel on the river walk all to myself. Needless to say my spontaneous decision paid off. (Will outline all the details on a follow-up post that's not a review)
I was so hyped up immediately after I hung up with him that I listened to their most recent album, Like Clockwork, which is amazing. I fired up YouTube videos of past shows and was getting geared up for a show that was happening in 29 hours! I made the necessary adjustments to drive to San Antonio after my 12pm lesson was over on Monday. On the drive down I was listening to the album and getting more familiar with the album so that I could simply enjoy and "rock out" to what I was going to hear. After putting the finishing touches to our on-the-fly plan, Michael picks me up and we head to The Majestic Theatre.
In the middle of an incredibly busy downtown is a beautiful, old theatre that takes you back to the old days as soon as you find the entrance. Inside was a fairly intimate sized venue that was packed to the brim. Though we had great seats (row 12), we weren't about to sit down through a rock show, we were both ready to stand as soon as the lights went out. Once the band came out, the crowd screams, rises to their feet and my adrenaline kicks into high gear. All engines go!
From the downbeat, there was an energy that you could feel and as you heard more you could sense how tight and together they played as a band. The sound in the place was absolutely pristine, you could hear every element very clearly. This can quickly ruin your concert experience, nothing like having good sound for a show like this. The visuals and light show were very fitting that I found myself staring at the background visuals when I wasn't looking at the band (got a lot of sweet pics to add later).
For starters, I feel that QOTSA is a band that keeps true to rock. It's heavy, driven, thick and very contagious. That being said we made a swift decision to ditch our seats and rush to the front, right up on the stage. Truth be told, we were the last few people to not be asked to go back to our seats by security, dodged a bullet there. That took our experience to a whole new level because we were so close to the band that it made me feel more connected to them (kinda like those small Denton venues). This made me feel totally in my element. The energy of the people around us combined with the band's thumping hard beats helped us really get into it.
From one song to the next musicians moved around the stage moving from guitar to piano to a different guitar, so many moving parts that talents were shining brightly. If you've heard the album and notice the amount of layering it took to do that, you would have appreciated why hearing it live was incredible. They were able to do that by multi-tasking, playing guitar and singing harmony during a small break from playing keyboard. Or shaking maracas during the break from a ripping guitar solo. The fact is that it's not easy to replicate in a live show what you hear in a studio album. In my opinion, these guys sounded better Live!!
At this band's level, there isn't a weak link. There was incredible tightness and clear interchanging of melodic lines where they belonged. The rhythmic structure of some of these songs is very tricky, something I'm a huge fan of, and delivered with such ease. In fact we even got treated to a very creative and kickin' drum solo with multiple rhythms happening at once , Impressive! What impacted me the most was how much fun they were having on stage, particularly frontman Josh Homme. His vocals are so dark, with a healthy range and such great control. On top of that, he's a fantastic guitar player that I found myself focusing on his playing quite a bit. Fingers flying up and down the guitar with such authority yet grace, a sign of a true professional.
Once they finished their set, they came out for 3 more encores. He made everybody light up the venue with their phones, a very cool moment. It's safe to say that everybody there really enjoyed themselves because nobody was in any rush to leave except the security and staff there. While it's difficult to accurately document the ins and outs of the performance I made sure to enjoy myself as I wasn't there on a school assignment. I was there to rock, and I made sure to complete my mission.
As I said before I typically plan for stuff. As of now, I haven't got a show of this caliber planned so I can safely say this may very well be the best show I attend in 2014. Due to all of the elements involved, it was a great way to kick off my concert review. Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you guys. Let me know what you think and what other sort of content you want to see in the future. Keep in touch.