Queens of the Stone Age Calgary Stampede Corral, Calgary AB May 3

The muscular strength behind Queens of the Stone Age definitely lies in the powerhouse core trio of front-man Joshua Homme, guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen and the tireless drumming machine, Joey Castillo. However, it’s Homme’s nonconformist soul that drives the Queens. A stoner rock misfit in the body of a good ol’ California boy, Homme is a sinister modern day Elvis with a pitch-black dark side and a heart that beats a little louder than others. Blasting out a set of funhouse rock stingers predominantly from Era Vulgaris and Songs for the Deaf, QOTSA’s pace was feverish and seductive. Delving into their entire discography, the Queens hauled out lesser-known songs from Lullabies to Paralyze and Rated R, including "In the Fade,” originally sung by Mark Lanegan. They didn’t shy away from songs previously fronted by Nick Oliveri either; Homme gave a searing performance of "Millionaire” after cheekily introducing it as "something called blasphemy.” Mood-setting continued between songs as Homme and Van Leeuwen intuitively built brooding guitar soundscapes. Underneath ramshackle chandeliers, they recreated the sound of sparse lightning illuminating a midnight sky and other eerie nocturnal sounds. Perfectly infusing the set with subversive flavour, they lingered in the middle of songs and allowed old songs to expand into fresh new creatures with dazzling effect. After walking around the stage and scanning the audience, his eyes zeroed in on one unsuspecting audience member (of thousands) during the ten-minute "No One Knows.” Mid-song, Homme abruptly stopped the band and ordered the house lights up, singling out the unfortunate soul wearing a Guns N’ Roses T-shirt. Flash back to 2006 when Axl Rose slagged Homme’s sensational boogie/garage rock sideband, Eagles of Death Metal, calling them "Pigeons of Shit Metal” and dismissing them from the opening slot of his Chinese Democracy tour. Understandably, Homme spent five minutes verbally undressing the fan and his poor choice in apparel while the Corral crowd roared along. He also mentioned how he attended the Calgary Stampede when he was a nine year-old kid and saw his first hooker. After sharing time was over, the Queens burned through the rest of their fiery set and polished it off with a generous encore. To his credit, the GNR clad fan stayed on his feet cheering the whole time. Hopefully, his tee safely made it into the trash can later that night.