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Queens Of The Stone Age, Royal Blood

  • Breese Stevens Field 917 East Mifflin Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

The long-running hard-rock band manages to vary things just enough on its latest album. Info/tix

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To say that Queens Of The Stone Age's latest album, 2017's Villains, falters would not be inaccurate but may also miss the point. That is, for many years now part of Queen’s “shtick” is that they have a distinct sound, and vary things just enough that it's not simply retreading—you know what to expect, but not quite how it’s going to hit you. For any band, that's impressive; for one that's been going since 1996, that seems impossible. A roving mix of swagger, grooves, glam, and witty machismo, Queens Of The Stone Age improbably ride the pendulum between ZZ Top's goofy-but-cool beefy riffing and Screaming Trees' poppy psychedelia. What's fascinating about the mainstream hard rock band is they have the discipline to keep exploring, now taking several years between albums, to make sure they hit their mark.

Again, Villains could be misread as unsure of itself, but the band's seventh album is perhaps their most wandering set yet—from the Elvis Presley strut of "The Way You Used To Do" to the sinister funk of "The Evil Has Landed," Queens keeps reaching for some new tricks. Some can see that as a bumpy ride, but who can argue with a band that's guarding against autopilot? Even if you haven’t listened to them since 2002’s Songs For The Deaf, the next 15 years has gone from mapping out a lurching, sludgy (in a good way) new post-bassist-Nick Oliveri template on Lullabies To Paralyze to a warped, stuttering take on summer pop in Era Vulgaris all the way up through this new one.  —David Wolinsky

Earlier Event: May 19
Jams: Ciel, NLP, Geoff K
Later Event: May 22
Chrome, Sinking Suns