The noted hard-rockers, Queens of the Stone Age, made a stop at Eugene’s Hult Center Saturday night in support of the group’s most recent album “Villains.” The band’s performance, along with an opening set from the boogie rock band Eagles of Death Metal, made for one of the loudest nights possible at the downtown performing arts center.
The show began around 8:30 when Eagles of Death Metal strolled on stage to Pilot’s 1975 hit “Magic” blaring over the theater’s PA speakers, garnering a loud applause from the audience. Throughout the 45-minute set, the band stuck to more popular songs such as “I Only Want You” and “I Want You So Hard.” During the breaks, frontman Jesse Hughes yelled into the mic in an over-the-top fashion about the “power of rock n’ roll music.”
A cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” was one highlight from the set, as well as a few extended solos near the end of the band’s performance. For the band’s finale, “Speaking In Tongues,” Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme made an appearance on stage to play drums. Homme, a recording member of Eagles of Death Metal, rarely plays live with the band as he is often busy touring with Queens of the Stone Age. The fact that both bands were performing that night made the special appearance possible.
Eagles of Death Metal filled the entire venue with a wall of sound and did an admirable job warming up the crowd for the headliner. There was a short break in between sets as the stage was prepped with instruments and an elaborate lighting setup. Soon after, everyone stood to their feet as Queens of the Stone Age took the stage.
As soon as Josh Homme made it to the microphone, he let everyone know that he was wasted and ready to have a good time. He announced again that he was “shitfaced” during the first break in the music. This was met with some enthusiastic shouts from the audience members — some of them probably wasted themselves. The band opened up its set with “If I Had A Tail” and followed immediately with “Monsters In the Parasol.” These songs made for anything but a slow start, and despite Homme’s apparent level of intoxication, he hit every note perfectly.
There was, however, some amusing stage banter coming from Homme in between songs. Among other things, he commented on the quality of the Hult Center in comparison to the hockey stadiums the band had recently played at — likely in reference to Portland’s own Memorial Coliseum, where the group had performed the night before. Homme also poked fun at Eugene saying it was a town where everyone “snowboards and smokes weed,” just before making a sincere remark about the special vibe the city holds.
The band largely stuck to material from its two most recent albums. Drummer Jon Theodore shined on an excellent performance of “My God Is the Sun.” A more recent track, “The Evil Has Landed,” also made its way into the setlist, sounding even better than the studio recording. But the band made sure not to leave out some of its biggest hits including “No One Knows,” on which Theodore took an extended drum solo.
The band’s expertly timed stage lighting only enhanced the experience of the show. The lights changed with each song — and almost every note — switching between vibrant colors and bright strobe lights that silhouetted the entire band. A performance of “Sick Sick Sick” utilized the best stage lighting, as bright, white lights quickly shifted from the left and right sides of the stage, in sync with Homme’s vocals.
The show finished with an encore, in which the band played the fast-paced “Go With The Flow” and then the noisy “Song For the Dead” from its acclaimed 2002 album “Songs for the Deaf.” The band thanked the crowd before making their way off stage, concluding what was likely the loudest show the Hult Center has ever held.