Queens of the Stone Age / The Distillers Guvernment, Toronto ON - September 29, 2003

When you're a sedulous road-warrior like QOTSA front-man Josh Homme, you don't take time off touring when you meet a girl, you ask her to come on tour with you — as the opening act. But as lovely as Brody Armstrong and her Distillers are, warm-ups to the Queens — arguably the best live band on the planet — are like chopsticks to amputees. QOTSA pack engaging showmanship, anthemic tunes and taut musicianship into their visceral, expertly-lit shows, and they do it all with little regard for their fans' hearing. Songs for the Deaf indeed. Nick Oliveri had no problems belting "Quick and to the Pointless" into what sounded like six megaphones, eight amps and four P.A.s before passing the mic to Homme for airtight versions of "First It Giveth" and "Go With the Flow." Mark Lanegan made the trip too, lending his sinister ululation to "Swaying Tree," "In the Fade" and "Song for the Dead" before lurching off stage to any number of myrmidons ready to deservedly suck his cock. Or maybe just for a beer, because, as Homme was quick to remind us, the band's quite fond of the sauce. To paraphrase: "Nick's gonna die with a bottle of vodka stuck up his ass and a Labatt Blue in each nostril." Not to be outdone, drummer Joey Castillo stayed commendably true to the band's proclivity for absurd timings, which makes head-bobbing a painfully involving necessity. They even squeezed in 1998's "If Only" as a treat for the Toronto minions. Stretchers were needed. This was possibly too good.