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March 25th, 2011

Review: Queens Of The Stone Age Garble Through Their Performance At Electric Factory

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Queens of the Stone Age have that quality of a dark priestess, like sounds for catacomb ceremonies. At the Electric Factory last night, they dug deep into their catalog, playing cuts off their self-titled debut, and early-era cuts after an intermission, marking a return to their brand of raw grunge-metal-rock with these simply framed songs under layers of subtle embellishments.

They’re all about missteps downscale that jump whole steps up, setting off harmonic minors, jagged and shuffled, over pure shreds. They make their guitars say words, repeating phrases, like voices warped in an electrical conduit.

And it’s a good thing their instruments can say all they need to say for them, because lyrically we couldn’t hear dick.

Queens of the Stone Age make good music because they use simple ideas and throw on simple elements, like the tambourine and maracas during “Avon,” which were totally lost. As the place warmed up and I got drunker I could hear the bass and drums in more of their artfulness, but most of the night lead vocalist Josh Homme was going “garble garble.” Good thing too he’s a tenor, but it was a real shame to miss out on the backing vocals spread onto some of those songs.

The most intelligible lyric was “Heeeaaaaahhhhh-eeiiiiiiii-yeeeeaaaaaaaaah-aaaaaeeeeeiiii.” Most intelligible sentence was when Homme got onstage checking out the crowd, saying, “You guys are fucking everywhere. It’s like being in the middle of a fucking rock ‘n’ roll anthill or something.” The third song “If Only” was the only shot at hearing some of those backing harmony, but that’s when the lead vocals started fading out. Tickets to the show were $35 and all we can hear is: “This is a song about realizing that you just don’t give a fuck about garble garble garble.”

During “I Was a Teenage Hand Model,” their version of a soul ditty in minor key with a little R&B mixed in, Homme got all the merry moshers singing along, clapping hands over their heads. Immediately after, “This song goes out to garble.”

In the end the place could scrape the mojo off Muddy Waters, so I can’t blame the Queens if it got tiring. They played a crazy high-energy show, with Philly knocking about like a wave, sending crowd surfers into security‘s waiting arms. The Electric Factory’s industrial kitsch complemented the simple yet sweet lighting. The sound quality was enough to suck the atmosphere out of any good show, and the Queens kept us headbanging. Fortunately you don’t need to understand what the fuck they’re singing. (Gin Salvatore)

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