Show Thoughts & Shots // Queens of the Stone Age @ Scotiabank Centre – 17.04.24

Josh Homme (QOTSA)

It’s nearing a month since a legion of excited fans congregated at The Scotiabank Centre to welcome Queens of the Stone Age back to the city. It had been 16 years since the band’s last trek to the region when the band was touring its fifth studio album Era Vulgaris, the band is now out on the road in support of In Times New Roman… and brought their groovy alt-rock sounds back to the East Coast of Canada to Halifax which Josh Homme is quoted as saying “Full of weirdos and crazy people. Perfect place for us, you know.”.

Along with their brand of groove-laden heft, the band brought along one of the more elaborate stages the Scotiabank Centre has played host to. It had the feel of a massive pyramid towering over the stage completely adorned with an impressive lighting array that left the band awash in some of the cleanest colour casts ever seen. It was a stage that felt like it would have been right at home at Future Forest or another similar EDM fest.

In more than the past couple of decades, rock n’ roll music has taken a backseat to the rise of hip-hop and pop music, lending to the age-old cliche of the death of the rock genre, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While bands such as Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, and Queens of the Stone Age aren’t heard on Top 40 radio as much as they have been in the past, they are still thriving and drawing massive crowds around the world. The recent stop in Halifax was easily one of the hottest tickets in the city, as Haligoons snapped up tickets to catch a band that has been together for well over a quarter of a century, and continues to leave an indelible mark on the rock genre as a whole.

Josh Homme (QOTSA)

The early April show capped the Canadian leg of the tour, on this night there was an air of danger in the air, not necessarily that you were going to be physically accosted, or verbally berated (there is always that potential), just that at points Homme could have taken his guitar and walked off stage never to return. So much so, I bet there were more than a handful of folks holding their breath as an overzealous fan waved an off-topic sign to request Josh and the band play “Sicily” instead of the planned song being introduced. Homme quipped “We’ll do the fuck piece first, and then we’ll get to the heartbreak piece which is what I care about. Fuck first, talk later”. As such, the sloggy stomper lacked the oomph it could have had, had it not been an afterthought.

Josh Homme (QOTSA)

The set shifted back into the regularly scheduled programming as the outspoken singer talked about his love of Halifax and the trials and tribulations of the past 27 years with QOTSA as the band and its fans have been through it all together. Then the packed house was treated to the QOTSA classic “I Sat By The Ocean”. Having been freaked out by the adoration of the Halifax patrons, Homme apologized for coping the way he did by talking shit. At this point, this reviewer recognized a dank floral aroma wafting throughout the arena. This familiar (albeit vintage) concert scent was more than apt with the big-time rock show occurring on stage.

When it came time for the absolute Queens of the Stone Age jam “The Way You Used to Do”, it allowed both the hard-core and casual fans a bonding moment as the room experienced a collective catharsis with the groovy romp, as both Halifax and Homme let loose. For the most part, this show was a solid upgrade over the band’s 2008 Cunard Centre show, during the band’s extended Halifax hiatus Homme battled Cancer and proceeded to build Queens of the Stone Age into a rock n’ roll titan, showcasing exactly why they are a towering force atop the modern rock scene, alongside peers such as the Foo Fighters, and Pearl Jam.

Josh Homme (QOTSA)

Before closing the show out, Josh Homme professed to never lie and stated that Halifax is “a great fucking town” and then launched into the beloved single “Little Sister”. All in all, this was a killer rock show with a couple of boneheaded moments coming from the band’s frontman himself as he made a relatively uncomfortable comment about controlling the security in the venue and allowing folks to do whatever they wanted, which in retrospect was rather pale in comparison to asking the guys in attendance to sing a portion of “Make It With You” as rape-y as possible which rightfully drew the ire of those in attendance. It’s a moment that flew under the radar at the time, but the power of social media shone a bright light on the offensive and unacceptable comment. But then welcoming a polarizing figure such as Mike Smith (in character as Bubbles) to the stage, only doubled down on the insensitivity of the comment thanks to Smith’s 2016 legal issues (which ultimately saw the charges dropped).

Until that point of the evening, it was a great rock n roll show, proving that rock n roll is alive and well. It showed that Halifax has a thirst for big-time rock bands, and hopefully, this was merely a start we get to see more upper-tier acts visit Halifax, and we don’t have to wait another 16 years to see Homme and Queens of the Stone Age perform their 3rd Halifax show.

Queens of the Stone Age

The Struts

About the author

Trev

A proud and over-caffeinated husband, father, runner and writer. I've written for the local weekly The Coast for over a decade and have since taken to creating and writing for HAFILAX for even longer. I hope you enjoy the musings of a guy who has loved music for the better part of 4 decades, and has an album of concert tickets to show for it.

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