“Everybody knows you dance like you fuck” — Vultures of Culture at the Electric Factory


Dax Riggs
Howlin’ Rain
Queens of the Stone Age
Electric Factory
Philadelphia, PA
9.29.07

After finding my way to the Electric Factory, it was narrow streets and pedestrians until I thankfully parked my car. Around every corner, excitable men with orange flags will wave you into their grasp: “SHOW PARKING! EIGHT DOLLARS!” I wound up spending ten when all was said and done, avoiding the extra gratuity suggested by the toothless crack addict that loudly waved me into my parking spot. My brother and I quickly walked a block or two and made it into the club after a thorough pat-down and a couple ink stamps were applied to the back of our hands, assuring the meathead with the flashlight upstairs that we were both legal to drink.

We were ten minutes late for the opening act, a fellow by the name of Dax Riggs. While ordering two expensive Dixie cups of inexpensive beer (Pabst, by the way), we wound up standing in an area where we had no view of the stage. A projection on the wall across from us gave us an idea of what was going on, but it was a little too obscure to make anything out. All we could hear was a guy that sounded like Mark Lanegan Part II, shooting for that Brillo-throated croon that says “I been through it, maaaaan. Me and life? Pffftttt…we’re like on the same level and shit. Hack, cough.”

The music was decent though and the crowd was really into him. In fact, the place was pretty packed for an opening act. I guess it pays to have a MYSPACE page these days.

Soon after Riggs finished his set, some incoherently loud rambling from a DJ filled the noise gap while my brother and I found higher ground from which to actually SEE the stage. It doesn’t pay to be short, and every seat was filled. So, we found an empty spot at the top of a high stairwell that offered us a decent view of the stage and figured that that was where we were going to spend the next couple hours, so long as the bouncers didn’t have a problem. The next act was Howlin’ Rain.

Now, it’s fairly often that you find a band that’s trying REAL hard to come across like some long lost gem from some bygone era. That’s their thing: they want you to think that they’re from years and years ago even though they’re twentysomething and trip heavily on their revivalist tip.

Howlin’ Rain, out of all of those bands, have REALLY been asleep for the last thirty years. Revival? Fuck no. They are the quintessential 70s arena rock act, wearing thick beards and long hair, widow’s peaks cutting significant gaps into their foreheads, plaid shirts tucked into khaki slacks. They even play their instruments like they’re from the 70s and there was zero irony. They kicked ass, too. But, that didn’t prevent us from having a field day with their appearance:

“Dude, they look like they’re all related to Jeff Daniels.”

“Do you think they’ll play ‘Kokomo’?”

“You got the Grand Funk…yeh, yeh I got the Grand Funk!”

“Allman Brothers?”

“Oh, yeh…got lots o’ that Allman Brothers! Got lots o’ Tull!”

They really threw down. One song in particular, (they really didn’t spit any titles out), rocked this sludgy riff that effected my heartbeat. They had a great time on stage and the crowd seemed to love them. The fact that they looked and sounded like a babyboomer band didn’t sway the overall approval.

Queens of the Stone Age hit the stage about fifteen minutes after Howlin’ Rain called it quits. Claps, cheers...Josh Homme picked up his guitar and immediately went into “You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire,” much to the slam dancing delight of the sea of heads beneath us. Cutting in with a jam version of “Feel Good Hit of the Summer,” Homme preempted his improv with “Everybody knows you dance like you fuck, dance like you fuck, dance like you fuck...” and, at one point, asked for audience participation.

“Nicotine, valium, vicotin, marijuana, ecstacy and alcohol…SEX IN THE PARKING LOT!”

The crowd roared. They would continue to do that well into the set.

The Era Vulgaris material was the focal point of the show, but they didn’t shy away from playing some oldies and even threw in some unexpected material. The underplayed “Do It Again” from Songs For The Deaf made an excellent appearance, as well as Mark Lanegan beauty “In The Fade,” a song I never thought I’d get to hear live.

Without really taking into consideration that the crowd might have A.D.D., Homme didn’t spare any jam or extended song sequences. “Walkin’ On The Sidewalks,” from the first Queens album, came with the long ending and “You Can’t Quit Me, Baby” was jammed heavily, winding up one of the show’s biggest and longest highlights. It was incredible to hear and see live. Also ranking high in the jam category was “The Fun Machine Took A Shit And Died,” hilariously epic and infectiously catchy.

The big favorites of the night were “Little Sister,” “Monsters In The Parasol,” and “Sick, Sick, Sick” and “3’s & 7’s” from the new album. The encores, “Burn The Witch” and an ultra-fast version of “Songs For The Dead” closed the show on a buzzing as many aural frequencies were shed that evening. I felt like I was speaking under water by the time we emerged from the venue, but what a show. QOTSA had a blast up there and the crowd had a great time. My head didn’t stop moving the entire set.

I was home by around midnight, buzz buzz buzzing away well into the next morning.

The next day, I noticed someone had hit my car. Chances are, the crack addled traffic controller directed a car right into mine.

Just say “no,” kids. Just say “no.”

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead
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