[SXSW 2011] Queens of the Stone Age Play Their Debut @ La Zona Rosa

I get off a plane and get a cab to the hotel which is empty as Kibbe and Rocko have headed down town. I sit on the bed and slowly start to feel myself sink into the bed after being awake for 24 hours. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE my mind shouts at me as I slowly begin to get comfy. And just like that I'm out of the door and headed to the convention centre to hook up with Rocko for the first time while Kibbe is off to the MTV Woodies to catch a glimpse of Dave Grohl, understandably, he's a sexy man! La Zona Rosa is the venue for Queens of the Stone Age to make their stamping ground in Austin and as you walk into the venue there's a feeling of something special in the air. Opening up for them is J Mascis, Mini Mansions and Black Angels all who respectively individually put their mark on the evening. The atmosphere was beginning to simmer down a little and then Joey Castillo steps up to the drum kit slowly followed by the ginger giant that is Josh Homme, who takes his position centre stage with his Maton BB slung around his neck ready to play us all what we've waited so long to hear. Their debut, front to back. This was going to be a night for the books.

The band barely gets comfortable in their positions before Josh's guitar comes screaming out of the speakers and the crowd is thrown back on their heels as the distortion and volume dabs can only mean one thing, the intro of "Regular John". And upon this the room begins to turkey neck and get their groove on. I look on open mouthed, after having being awake for far too long, I'm stood in Austin and QOTSA are literally 10 feet away from me at a show that's not even full to the back of the room. Is this real life?! "Avon" follows naturally, opening up a break for Joey to tentatively do the infamous drum fill 3/4 of the way through.

Songs I thought I'd never get seen played live are unfolding in front of my very eyes and it's hard to soak in the lights, the band, the atmosphere. Your senses are left bewildered as the wall of sound keeps hitting you slap in the face. The band swagger their way through the amazing debut album while Josh's vocals soar through the mix taking us all to a desert somewhere where the sun is setting and tomorrow brings another sun. The album seems to have been played before to long rocking through great tracks like their latest limited edition vinyl "How To Handle A Rope" along with "Mexicola" onto "Hispanic Impressions" and "The Bronze". Before I know it they are off of the stage and Josh has necked half a bottle of vodka and chain smoked his way off of the stage while the audience watches on in disbelief. 

We shouldn't of worried though, as just minutes later the band return to the stage and bang out some of their greatest hits and an all time favourite of mine "Make It Wit' Chu". Opening the encore with "Turnin' The Screw" following up with "Misfit Love" and the jam at the beginning of the song had a the whole band swaggering around the stage in a groove only these guys can bring from within. To my happiness they carried on through the hits playing an array of fan favourites (if you don't personally class the whole frikking entire S/T as your favourite!) including "Little Sister" and finally closing the set with "Go With The Flow". Done.

Before waving his goodbyes to the audience, Josh, who'd now drank the best part of a bottle of Kettle One stumbled towards the crowd just feet away and passed the bottle to an unassuming girl. Little did we know Johnny, the lucky SOB, over at Antiquiet would end up taking said bottle back to his hotel, but we're not jealous. Honest. All in all a perfect introduction into not only the first Queens of the Stone Age album that hit the worlds eardrums some 13 years ago but to SXSW Music for the SKoA family. 

Set List 

Regular John
If Only
Walkin’ on the Sidewalks
You Would Know
How to Handle a Rope
Hispanic Impressions
The Bronze
Give the Mule What He Wants
I Was a Teenage Hand Model
You Can’t Quit Me Baby


Turnin’ On The Screw
Misfit Love
Make It Wit Chu
Little Sister
Tangled Up In Plaid
Go With The Flow