“You’re the little audience that could, huh?” said Josh Homme, lead singer-songwriter and guitarist for Queens of the Stone Age, the five-man rock ‘n’ roll band that played Saturday night in Bangor.
No, there wasn’t a sold out crowd — the 6,000 capacity Cross Insurance Center was maybe one-third full. But the rock that the band delivered was at the top of its game, and the audience ate every massive riff and irresistible melody up like it was sweet rock ‘n’ roll candy. The Queens played a two-hour set that included a six-song encore and an impressive, expressive light show.
There aren’t a lot of real rock bands around anymore. Not bands that were at their creative peaks in the 1970s, the ‘80s or even the ‘90s and are still touring — rather, bands that are in their prime, right now, cultivating a devoted fan base and making epic albums. Queens of the Stone Age is one of them.
“I [totally] love them. I’ve seen them three times, and it’s always been awesome,” said Eric Weston of Kittery, who was at the show with a group of friends who drove up that day. “I’m not sure that they have ever played in Maine as far as I know, so I am really psyched to be here.”
The Queens played a set that showcased the expansive, expertly composed and performed songs off their newest album, “… Like Clockwork,” like the dark, groovy “If I Had A Tail,” the changing time signatures of “My God is the Sun” and the moving power ballad “The Vampyre of Time and Memory.” They mixed those songs with cuts from their heavier, more raw early albums, like the crowd-pleasing “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” and the radio hit “No One Knows.”
Though Homme has grown as a musician and is not afraid to embrace pop, classic rock and even prog-rock elements in his writing, at their heart, the Queens are a heavy metal band. Songs such as “Go With The Flow” from their third album, “Songs for the Deaf,” or “Sick, Sick, Sick” off their 2007 album, “Era Vulgaris,” drive that point home.
Opening for the Queens was Brody Dalle, formerly of punk band the Distillers, who recently released her first solo album, “Diploid Love.” Dalle and Homme have been married for the past 10 years and have two children. Dalle, in her first solo outing, showed off her newer, more introspective songs as well as a handful of tracks from her early punk rock days.
The Queens of the Stone Age concert was the first in a two day stretch of concerts at the Cross Insurance Center. Sunday welcomes perhaps the polar opposite of a Queens show — legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor. After Taylor’s concert, John Fogerty will perform Aug. 2 during the Bangor State Fair. For more information, visit crossinsurancecenter.com.
“Go With the Flow” is from the third album, “Songs for the Deaf.”