Palm Desert rock band Queens of the Stone Age did it up big for its sold-out show at the Forum in Inglewood on Saturday night.
Driving up to the legendary and more recently renovated venue, Queens’ logos were cast around the arena with bright white light and there was a ginormous, red light-up Queens sign outside, straight out of the “The Way You Used To” music video that fans were posing in front of and the VIP Forum Club had been rebranded The Villains Club in recognition of the band’s most recent album, “Villains.”
The group has played this area three times in less than five months; first taking the main stage at the Foo Fighters’ curated Cal Jam ’17 in San Bernardino in October and then a bizarre turn at the Forum for KROQ 106.7/FM’s Almost Acoustic Christmas, during which frontman Josh Homme in a heavily inebriated state, cut his forehead open with a knife and kicked a photographer.
Homme acknowledged the incident, which went viral and which he apologized to fans for, after blasting through “If I Had a Tail” and “Monsters in the Parasol.”
“It’s good to be back at the Forum,” he said. “Much better than last time I was there.”
Homme was in top form Saturday night. Living up to his nickname of “The Ginger Elvis” as he danced and shook his hips while playing guitar and singing a newer cut like “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now.” The band hit the crowd with two new tracks in a row, seamlessly rocking into the single, “The Way You Used to Do.” Midway through, Queens continued to impress and blast the audience with a ton of strobe lighting during fan-favorites like “No One Knows,” “Burn the Witch” and “I Sat by the Ocean.” Following a dizzy performance of the heavy new song “Domesticated Animals,” things slowed way, way down.
The section of the show started with “Make It Wit Chu,” a sexier, bouncier single off the band’s 2007 album “Era Vulgaris.” It was a treat for the ladies in the audience, who were outnumbered at an estimated 25 to 1 at the Forum. It was followed by “Smooth Sailing,” “I Appear Missing” and “Villains of Circumstance.” A lot of fans seemed to take the time to go grab another drink before last call and some, at least in the upper levels, left and never came back to their seats at all.
It all picked back up with “Little Sister” and the main set closer, “Go With the Flow.” Homme segued into that final song by introducing guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, letting everyone know that he was from Cerritos.
“Very tough town, that Cerritos,” Homme quipped. “That auto square is very difficult.”
Of course, the band wasn’t finished there and made up for the latter oddly selected order of songs in the set list by straight rocking an encore. The guys came back out with singer-songwriter and producer Mark Ronson, who produced “Villains.” Ronson, who has collaborated with just about every major artist in the music industry, recently showed up at the Forum to perform with Lady Gaga, but this time played some throwback favorites with Queens and paid tribute to Elton John, who will bring his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour to the venue on Monday, Feb. 1 and Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2019, with “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”
Ronson wasn’t the only famous face on hand, comedians Jeff Ross and Anthony Jeselnik were spotted in the crowd. Actor Colin Hanks was also hanging out alongside musicians such as Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk and Social Distortion anchor David Hidalgo Jr.
Opening act Royal Blood was equally as impressive. The duo from the U.K. also performed at Cal Jam ’17 and KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas and drew its own enthusiastic early crowd to the Forum Saturday night. The band now has two albums of material to draw from and put on a powerful, loud and exciting set mixing early singles like “Come On Over,” “Out of the Black” and the sing-along “Figure it Out,” with fresh songs like the raging “I Only Lie When I Love You.”
Drummer Ben Thatcher is a beast on drums during that track and vocalist-bassist Mike Kerr displays his true talent as a multi-instrumentalist as he breaks out the keys for the brilliant song, “Hole in Your Heart.” For a two-piece, Royal Blood is so mighty and Kerr and Thatcher have such great chemistry on stage together, which is something these larger audiences are definitely responding to.
Queens of the Stone Age
When: Saturday, Feb. 17
Where: The Forum, Inglewood