SXSW: Queens of the Stone Age Caters to Diehard Fans at La Zona Rosa
Despite its closed-to-the-general-public status, the Queens of the Stone Age's SXSW showcase last night (Mar. 16) -- the rockers' first U.S. gig in three years -- spawned a line that stretched from the front of the cavernous Austin club La Zona Rosa all the way down the street.
In fact, an hour before the band hit the stage at Rolling Stone's SXSW showing, the line wound past another venue and up some stairs, breaking only for traffic patterns and club employees moving beer in and out.
The mass crowd was enough to dissuade a large number of fans, not sure whether the wait was worth their time with so many other options at their disposal throughout the city -- and, if they were just passive Queens fans, they would've been right.
That's because rather than deliver a surely crowd-pleasing greatest hits-type set, the now-stalwart, hard-rocking California quintet instead pummeled through their way through their soon-to-be-re-released self-titled 1998 first album front-to-back.
Following strong sets from newcomers Beast Make Bomb and Mini Mansions, as well as former Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis and stoner-rock peers Black Angels, the Queens of the Stone Age pleased many diehards in the audience. However, this led to some very obvious impatience in passive fans who didn't recognize sludgy, riff-heavy live rarities like "Hispanic Impressions," despite those songs' chunky tightness that clearly represents the Queens' trademark both back and since then.
Had passive fans waited long enough, they would have been rewarded with frontman Josh Homme leading his able-limbed band through hits "Little Sister" and "Go With The Flow" in the encore, but by then they'd cleared out -- leaving space for the diehards to bang their heads as hard as they possibly could.