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"Joey won't forget this night and neither should you" -QOTSA kicks ass in Saskatoon (April 3/2024)

words and pictures by Scott Roos/Scotty the Rooster Photography

This past Wednesday, April 3rd, within the hallowed walls of SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA) took the stage in front of a rowdy crowd of concert goers who eagerly lapped up the bands personal brand of heavy, crunchy, gritty, and at times, pop bubble gum, riff rock. Along for the ride were U.K. based glam rock revivalists, The Struts. For the duration of the evening, each band was able to command the stage with enough moxie to provide an extremely entertaining evening of music.

Led by energetic and wily frontman Luke Spiller who… erm… strutted across the stage like some sort of mad cap cross between Daltrey and Jagger, The Struts were a fun group to watch. Guitarist Adam Slack had all the guitar hero poses down pat, shredding adeptly and well. The rhythm section of bassist Jed Elliott and drummer Gethin Davies held it all together quite nicely with their “in the pocket” grooves. In Saskatoon, the band’s songs were hook laden and catchy with Spiller and company winning over the crowd during a raucous singalong of their track “Put Your Money On Me”. Their set ended with “Could Have Been Me”. The crowd at this point was very satisfied with what they had just witnessed and very well prepped for the arrival of Queens of the Stone Age.

There was a lot of speculation in the 24 hours leading up to QOTSA’s Saskatoon show. They had just canceled the previous night in Edmonton due to an illness in the band. Fortunately, earlier in the day, the band had made an announcement that the Saskatoon show was in fact on and, for those who did not see the social media posts, all fears were assuaged once the opening notes of “Regular John” thundered through the arena. It was evident that the band was definitely ready, willing and able, to fire on all cylinders. Guitarist/frontman Josh Homme did mention at one point that he was unsure as to whether his voice would hold out for the entirety of the show but things worked out because he hung in there right to the final bow.

Highlights from the QOTSA set were their spot on renditions of some of their “Big Shiny” classics like “3’s and 7’s”, “Go With the Flow” and the erotically charged “Make It Wit Chu”. They also played “No One Knows” at the beginning of their set much to the delight of all. Tracks from their recently released full length Times New Roman… were also woven seamlessly into the set list including “Negative Space”, “Made to Parade”, “Sicily”, and “Emotion Sickness”. The biggest reaction of the night, however, was saved for last with “Song For the Dead” ending the night out. The energy was at a fever pitch and the crowd was jumping, moving and a small pit opened up with a bit of crowd surfing and the general tomfoolery that one can expect from a proper heavy rock show. Good times… 

Homme held the audience’s attention in between songs with witty banter. His stage presence was magnetic and borderline omnipresent with the fans hanging on his every word. Musically, the collective made up of Homme on guitar as well as worthy constituents Troy Van Leeuwen (guitar, keyboards, percussion), Michael Shuman (bass), Dean Fertita (keyboards, guitar) and Jon Theodore (drums) presented as a pretty tight quintet. They could launch into coordinated, extended, free wheeling jams or keep things crisp and clean with equal ferocity. Oh, and they had a pretty kickass light show to accompany everything too. To put it simply, QOTSA, on this night, kicked ass and took many names including some dude named “Joey”, who for some reason Homme singled out in the crowd. He no doubt will never forget the night QOTSA rolled into S’toon. If you were there, you wouldn't forget it either. Not for a long time. It was solid all round.

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