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Queens of the Stone Age brought the feel good hits to Riot Fest (review, setlist, pics)

Friday’s Riot Fest 2017 headliner was Nine Inch Nails and Saturday’s was Queens of the Stone Age. Those two bands are good to see headline consecutive days for a few reasons. Both frontmen, Trent Reznor and Josh Homme, have become two of rock’s most singular forces over the past three decades. Trent was a collaborator of David Bowie, Josh of Iggy Pop — they’ve also collaborated and toured with each other. They could both basically be considered “classic rock” by now but they continue to sound so modern. And perhaps the most immediately noticeable comparison to be made at Riot Fest is that both have truly mesmerizing light shows. Whether or not QOTSA and NIN played the best sets of the festival thus far, they definitely played the most towering ones.

From their sharp outfits to their polished instruments to the visuals and their massive-sounding performance, everything about QOTSA was so professional. You can tell that they sorta know they’re one of the biggest rock bands in the world, but they deserve to know that. They’re certainly never pretentious or arrogant. In fact, of all the music on Riot Fest’s Saturday lineup, Josh Homme was most excited to tell the crowd he got to see “his heroes” GBH. He may have just made a funky album with Mark Ronson, but he hasn’t lost the punk spirit that makes QOTSA a great band to headline a festival like this one. Those funky new songs (including “Feet Don’t Fail Me,” “The Way You Used to Do,” “The Evil Has Landed,” and “Domesticated Animals”) sounded good live, but QOTSA are at their strongest when Josh lets his metal roots shine. They showed that off right away, starting their set with the classic Songs For The Deaf opener “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire,” one of the heaviest songs they played all night. That went right into the driving fan favorite “Feel Good Hit of the Summer.” Josh has been known to sing parts of other people’s songs during that song, and this time he did “Mother” by Danzig, who had played that song at Riot Fest just hours earlier.

The other feel good hits were Songs For The Deaf‘s big singles “No One Knows” and “Go With the Flow,” which remain some of the best examples of Josh channelling his metal background into airtight, danceable rock that rivaled the post-punky indie rock that was blowing up when Songs For The Deaf came out. (On that note, a fun fact is that all these years later, Queens of the Stone Age are now labelmates with Interpol.) Those songs sounded as world-conquering at Riot Fest as they did when they were cruising through radio and MTV rotations 15 years ago. One thought I kept having when they played those songs, and …Like Clockwork standouts “If I Had a Tail” and “My God is the Sun,” is that there’s a real magic that happens when Josh Homme writes his songs with Dave Grohl on drums. I may have daydreamed a bit about Grohl leaving Foo Fighters and drumming full time for QOTSA, but respect is due for the band’s highly talented current drummer Jon Theodore (whose former Mars Volta bandmates played Riot Fest directly before QOTSA with At the Drive-In), who did a fine job with the whip-smart beats of those Songs For The Deaf songs.

Like the show began, it ended with a heavy one off SFTD, “A Song For The Dead,” complete with a few stretched-out false endings. They ended a little earlier than scheduled and didn’t come back for an encore, which left the crowd audibly disappointed, but that bulldozing song was still a killer way to go out.

Check out QOTSA’s full Riot Fest setlist and a couple videos below, and pictures in the gallery above. Pictures and a review of At the Drive In’s Saturday night set HERE, and pics and recaps from the rest of the day HERE.

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Queens of the Stone Age at Riot Fest 2017 Setlist (via)
You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire
Feel Good Hit of the Summer
Feet Don’t Fail Me
The Way You Used to Do
My God Is the Sun
Smooth Sailing
The Evil Has Landed
No One Knows
Make It Wit Chu
Domesticated Animals
If I Had a Tail
Little Sister
Go With the Flow
A Song for the Dead

photos by Aaron Peipert

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