Queens of the Stone Age at Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers, AR

Queens of the Stone Age brought The End Is Nero Tour to Northwest Arkansas, accompanied by perfect weather for outdoor music.

Jehnny Beth started the night with a short but powerful seven-song set. The energy of the band quickly spread out into the crowd and they were locked in for the duration. Four songs came directly from Jehnny’s newly released Live EP, including the previously unreleased “More Adrenaline.”

Things really got going next with Viagra Boys. There was an obvious sense of anticipation leading up to the set, and those in attendance let the Swedish/American band know through their volume. Whether it was vintage calculators (“Ain’t Nice”), learning disabilities (“Slow Learner”), or a love for fake gold chains (“Punk Rock Loser”), all subjects were covered by vocalist Sebastian Murphy. Continually referring to the crowd as “Walmart,” Murphy kept things light while spinning a yarn about his boyhood dream to play rock and roll inside the big box retailer… which he has now achieved. At the forefront of the Viagra Boys sound was bassist Henrik Hockert, continually driving the music (and the night) forward as the time for the headliners approached.

Just after 9 PM, Queens of the Stone Age took the stage to thunderous applause. This was the quintet’s first trip to the Natural State since 2013. The band immediately went into their opening staple for The End Is Nero Tour, “No One Knows,” from 2002’s Songs for the Deaf

The sound was tight from the first downbeat as you can only get from a band that has played together in its current configuration for over a decade. QOTSA has always offered a unique sound and that was on full display throughout the evening. 

Josh Homme’s falsetto vocals took center stage on “I Sat by the Ocean” and “Smooth Sailing” accompanied by his unique lead guitar phrasing. Bassist Michael Shuman (or Mikey Shoes) kept things in-time throughout the evening with second guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen providing single-coil accompaniment to Homme’s humbucker sound. Utility musician Dean Fertita dabbled in a little bit of everything (keys, guitar, vox) while Jon Theodore anchored things with heavy and clear percussion.

The band kept things moving quickly until they kicked into concert mainstay “Make It Wit Chu” from 2007’s Era Vulgaris. This song typically serves as a crowd sing-along and that proved to be the case here as well. The band turned things up a bit by also doing an extended tag of The Rolling Stones’ “I Miss You” before turning it over to the crowd for the chorus. “Not so easy, is it?” Homme quipped after the crowd’s first shot at the chorus. The volume went up on their second round through.

The main setlist for the night leaned heavily on cuts from 2013’s Like Clockwork… and the band’s newly released In Time New Roman… (“Emotion Sickness”/“Negative Space”), while the encore brought fan-favorites “Go With the Flow” and “A Song for the Dead.”

As a great night of music wrapped up those in attendance were left hoping it wouldn’t be another ten years before Queens of the Stone Age returned to Arkansas.

You can see Queens of the Stone Age throughout the United States and Europe until the end of the year.

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About Trae Roberts 11 Articles
Trae Roberts is a concert photographer living and working in Arkansas.