Sink or Swim: Queens of the Stone Age, Royal Blood Refuse to Pander in Cleveland
Everybody who attended this past weekend's Queens of the Stone Age and Royal Blood show at the packed, sweaty and absolutely perfectly run-down Agora Theatre in Cleveland now knows what it feels like to go water skiing behind an Atlas rocket for about three hours.
And it's a pretty gosh-darn exhilarating sensation.
From the moment they started off with the delightfully unexpected Rated R closer "I Think I Lost My Headache," QOTSA made it clear they would neither be pandering to fans of their more recent hits, nor circling back to round up anybody who couldn't keep up.
Instead, they maintained a ferocious level of intensity throughout their 19-song set, which was largely dominated by uptempo tracks from their two most recent albums, this year's Villains and 2013's ...Like Clockwork.
Even when things slowed down a bit for a mid-show pairing of "Kalopsia" and "I Appear Missing," there was no time to relax. Instead, Josh Homme's urgent vocals seemed to build up a new kind of tension, which the crowd happily spent during a set-ending blitz that included "Little Sister," "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire" and "No One Knows."
Three years worth of raves for opening act Royal Blood's two studio albums and their growing reputation as a powerful live act meant the duo didn't have to start from zero in terms of audience recognition. But it was still impressive as heck to watch them completely win over nearly every single person in the venue within the space of just nine songs.
While there probably couldn't be a more perfect band to open for QOTSA right now, we're even more excited for Royal Blood to visit our fair city on their own next time.
(P.S.: AEG, please don't fix the Agora up too much, OK?)
Queens of the Stone Age Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness