Ben Ratliff reviews QOSA show in NY Times:
- Queens of the Stone Age make disjunctive rock ‘n’ roll: it’s as loud and nasty as a band can be, while remaining a chilly experience.
The reason is Josh Homme, the group’s guitarist and principal singer and songwriter, who once performed the same duties for a far more soulful band, Kyuss. Since Kyuss changed into Queens of the Stone Age, around 1997 — with Mr. Homme and the bassist Nick Oliveri forming the core of both — Mr. Homme has become interested in writing pop songs. They are more like provocative proposals than pieces of music you can live with.
For good or ill, Mr. Homme has developed enormously. Compared with Kyuss, which proceeded slowly, drawing you in over the long haul, the new music of Queens of the Stone Age comes in short bursts, like one-liners. Mr. Homme has become a viable pop songwriter, if still grounded in the logic of West Coast stoner-rock, which demands that a single chord should be plied as long as possible.
On Thursday night at Roseland, Mr. Homme didn’t just toy with anti-charisma; he appeared not to be selling himself at all. In theory that’s a radical move, though not one that’s particularly fun to watch. His lyrics may hint at dark matter (they’re vague first-person narratives of undesirable guys who get their kicks, yet remain bored), but it’s startling to see him in person: he’s 6 foot 3, with a sensible short haircut, and he tucks in his shirts. He looks absolutely normal, and he’s a precise guitarist, with a manly, romantic voice that doesn’t crack or screech. Visually he’s the straight man next to Mr. Oliveri, who’s bald, screaming, tattooed and reckless, with a goatee like a dagger, and Mark Lanegan (of the band Screaming Trees), who appeared for parts of the set, intoning in a deep, weary croak….