QUEENS OF THE STONEAGE
Los Angeles, Wiltern Theater
Just behind the lighting desk in the little VIP area The Queen of England is rocking out to Queens Of The Stoneage. It’s a truly surreal sight, Dame Helen Mirren, eyes closed, fully absorbed in the music, anticipating every beat. Queens Of The Stoneage are that sort of band nowadays, fully integrated into the mainstream, the big rock show selling out two nights back to back. Half the crowd come for the hits and then text each other through the rest.
But tonight is a little different. Tonight Queens are playing their self-titled debut album in it’s entirety and that, in the States, means all the die-hard fans come out of the woodwork, especially since the album was never given a decent release in the US and has been out of print for so long. You have to know this one, and tonight the crowd (including Dame Mirren) knows every song back to front and inside out. For tonight at least, the bands is ours again.
Admittedly this is a very different line-up to the three-piece of 1998 when the album was released, but any worries that they might tamper with the classics is needless, as everything from ‘Regular John’ onwards through ‘Avon’ and beyond comes note perfect. Indeed, true to their word Queens literally play their debut in it’s entirety including the bonus track ‘The Bronze’ before they venture anywhere near the newer material for an encore. LA crowds may not dance much, but you’d be hard pushed to beat the roar of approval.
There’s a saying among the Mexican community here: ‘we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us’ and that holds true with Queens Of The Stoneage. Hearing their debut in this context it’s clear that Queens never really moved to the mainstream, the mainstream moved to them. They still confound at times, even to the extent of playing dull shows sometimes (though this is not one of them), and they still provoke a response. Of course it’s nice too feel like this is still out little secret and maybe tonight it is, but the reason Queens Of The Stoneage have hits is quite simple: they’re really very good indeed.
For Terrorizer Magazine.