Concerts

Review and photos: Queens of the Stone Age and The Struts

[Photographer Ross MacDonald and reviewer Karen Coughtrey have been busy. – AC]

Friday night was for the rockers as Queens Of The Stone Age brought their The End Is Nero tour, with openers The Struts to the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.

The Struts tried to steal the night with a fantastic performance. An alarm sounded to welcome them to the stage and they captured the attention of the audience from that moment on.

the struts ottawa

The band almost transports you back in time with their glam rock style, (vintage dusters and shirts with bell sleeves and of course an unbelievable knack for how to strut around the stage) and their retro hard rock sound.

the struts ottawa

They opened with full swagger mode on with ‘Primadonna Like Me’ followed by ‘Body Talk’ whose bouncy sound had the crowd grooving.

the struts ottawa

They took their job as a warm up band very seriously and demanded crowd participation on ‘Fallin’ With Me’ and ‘Put Your Money On Me’.

Although they did not play their new single that came out in February (‘Heaven’s Got Nothing On You’), they did play new music with the title track of the album they dropped last November ‘Pretty Vicious’ and also the first track of that album, ‘Too Good At Raising Hell’.

the struts ottawa

Lead vocalist Luke Spiller commands the stage, almost as if he is daring the audience not to pay attention and have fun. It was impossible to take your eyes off him and after they finished their last number ‘Could Have Been Me’ he hinted at the title of another of their tracks demanding the crowd ‘Remember The Name’ and it is likely they are a band few in attendance will forget.

the struts ottawa

There is no question that the crowd was pumped and raring to rock with Queens Of The Stone Age. They were on their feet at the first hint of the house lights dimming and the band would be arriving on stage. And by mid-show shirts were off and aggressive shouting and finger pointing was seen even up in the seated sections. They wouldn’t be disappointed as the band treated them to a total of 20 songs by night’s end.

Queens Of The Stone Age ottawa

It seemed early in the evening as if frontman Josh Homme had little to say to the crowd as the band played the first five songs uninterrupted. They kicked off the night with ‘Regular John’ followed by their big hit ‘No One Knows’.

Queens Of The Stone Age ottawa

Queens of the Stone Age are the definition of a tight band, and there is no denying the creativity, songwriting, and musicianship of Josh. As hard rocking as Queens Of The Stone Age are there is a distinct bouncy beat to some of their tunes (Josh writes many in 2/4 time because of learning polka music in his early guitar lessons) and ‘If I Had A Tail’, ‘Better Living Through Chemistry’, ‘Sicily’, and ‘Make It Wit Chu’ all really had the crowd moving.

Queens Of The Stone Age ottawa

They may sound generally like a standard hard rock band, but Josh and Troy’s guitar effects include a lot of clipping which give a unique distorted sound that at times make it sound as if someone is playing a theremin. And long-time guitarist Troy shone throughout the night. Whether being completely in sync with Josh, or taking over with intricate solos. And not to be forgotten, in behind was Dean filling out the sound with his keys or a third guitar.

Queens Of The Stone Age ottawa

Despite having few words for the crowd early in the night, Josh did find his voice and his groove and had several great conversations with the audience between songs. He waxed poetic on many topics but most memorably he spoke about the insanity of falling in love before ‘In My Head’ and about being a band for 27 years and the diversity of their audiences and bringing all those people together to share one moment before “depressing love song” (Josh’s words) ‘I Sat By The Ocean’.

Queens Of The Stone Age ottawa

Often overlooked, especially in such a guitar-forward band, is the QOTSA rhythm section of Jon on drums and Mikey Shoes on bass. The band does not write overly sophisticated rhythm parts; however, the upbeat time signatures enhance their prowess. Jon hits his drums hard and precisely (most other drummers it is either one or the other). It’s a not-so-subtle reminder of a former QOTSA drummer and buddy of Josh: Dave Grohl. And frequently Mikey Shoes bass runs are front and centre. QOTSA is a very well-rounded rock band.

Queens Of The Stone Age ottawa

Queens Of The Stone Age clearly care about their fans and wanted to give them the night the fans wanted, performing ‘The Sky Is Falling’ when they wanted to something heavier and older and changing up the plan for the encore and playing ‘Mexicola’ after having picked up the crowd’s thirst for the song from an audience chant.

Queens Of The Stone Age ottawa

They wrapped up the night with ‘Go With The Flow’ and ‘A Song For The Dead’ which included an extra outro keeping many in the crowd standing their ground until the house lights came back on and signaled the true end of the night.

Queens Of The Stone Age
Josh Homme – lead vocals, guitar
Troy Van Leeuwen – guitar, backing vocals
Michael Shuman – bass, backing vocals
Dean Fertita – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
Jon Theodore – drums

The Struts
Luke Spiller – lead vocals
Nick Perri (Subbing in for Adam Slack) – guitar
Jed Elliott – bass
Gethin Davies – drums

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38556 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.