Written By: Chris Bechle and Photographed By: Cathy Bechle
It’s 6:30 PM on a warm Friday night in downtown Rochester, NY. A lengthy line stretches down a sidewalk running parallel to the historic Main Street Armory; the venue that is about to house the alternative hard rock sound of California’s own Queens of the Stone Age. As this show was their only stop in Upstate, NY, there was certainly no shortage of eager fans packing the floor and balcony of the large performance room.
Taking the stage first was the freshly signed (Sony Music Entertainment) New York City trio, Unlocking the Truth. Considering their roots come from setting up shop in Times Square, along with the fact this was only their third stage show ever, one would assume that a hint of nervousness would be obvious, especially when not one member of the band has hit their fourteenth birthday yet. Instead what the crowd got was a surprisingly heavy sound from the incredibly talented and comfortable teens on stage. The band was able to get the night started on the right foot, drawing cheers and immense applause from awe-stricken faces in the crowd. They continue their route to fame in the fall as they tour with rock veterans, Living Colour.
Next on stage was Aussie rocker and wife of Josh Homme, Queens of the Stone Age frontman, Brody Dalle. From start to finish in their ten-song set, the band delivered an edgy, up-tempo punk rock sound to the ever-growing audience. Along with a majority of newly written songs, Brody Dalle also threw in the single, “Coral Fang” from her prior musical project The Distillers. The fast paced sound that Brody Dalle delivered kept the anxious crowd energized and moving as they awaited the main act of the night. The band continued touring the United States through the end of July before they traveled across the pond to tour Europe during the month of August.
At 10:00 PM, the light panels at the back of the stage displayed a sixty-second countdown to which the ever-ready crowd counted along as the moment they had all been waiting for, finally became a reality. The large venue was sporting a packed balcony and limited free space on either side of the floor. As the band dove right into the popular hit “No One Knows” there were few heads not banging along to the music as well as fists stuck straight up into the air demonstrating a love for the ones on stage. As the show continued, it was hard not to appreciate the amount of work that went into stage and lighting setup. With elaborate overhead and backing lights, the mood of each song could be captured by different colors and light speeds. After powering through six or seven fast-paced, in-your-face fan favorites, Josh Homme took the piano to slow it down for their song, “Like Clockwork”. The crowd stayed rowdy and slowly more lighters than camera phones began to prevail from the sea of people. They did not keep the mood mellow for long as they revamped the tempo with more crowd favorites like “Sick, Sick, Sick” and “3’s and 7’s”.
The Queens of the Stone Age were admired as kings of rock n roll for the night, from beginning to end, keeping the audience jumping and cheering with no signs of stopping. The sweat-soaked band members finished their set, leaving the audience begging for more. As they walked off the stage, the overwhelming cheers begging for an encore began growing louder and louder. Gone for no more than two minutes, the band took the stage, beers in hand, welcomed back by the adoring fans whose cheers now reached a new peak. The three-song encore satisfied the crowd above and beyond what they could have hoped for, and shortly after the band left the stage for good, the lights came on and the venue was clear of the majority of people. Queens of the Stone Age put on not only a terrific musical show, but created an experience for their fans that left ears ringing and heads pounding for the ride home. The band continues its tour throughout August as they head to Norway to appease even more insatiable fans.