QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE: A REVIEW

They're just like us, really.

Focusing on what matters.

Supporting one another in the pursuit of ambition, or perhaps giving each other the push to follow passion.

The difference between us and them is in the performance.

They play it out on a stage, while we try our best in the anonymity of a crowd.

Last night, Brody Dalle (formerly of the Distillers and Spinnerette) joined Josh Homme, frontman of the ever-evolving Queens of the Stone Age, to play for a crowd of revved up super fans at Budweiser Gardens in my hometown of London, Ontario—where people work hard and play harder.

Married since 2007, and parents of two young kids, Dalle and Homme are touring to promote their newest albums (Diploid Love and Like Clockwork, respectively) and spend some much-needed time together.

When we decided to find something outside of being parents, that filled us up, that helped us see one another the way we used to, that gave us time together—it was music that held the answer. 

Qotsaduo

And though we don't always share the same level of appreciation for each artist we see, we do appreciate being part of the other's experience. It's been a metaphor for marriage—at least for us—to be able to let the other shine, to know that any shadow cast by that glow isn't darkness, but instead a quiet place to stand. 

As the crowd of revellers found their seats and filled the floor space in front of Dalle (who has been compared to Courtney Love), she set the tone for a high energy show with her no frills brand of punk rock. She shone and then with a flirty You're gonna get your asses kicked, she slid into the shadows.

Dalle wasn't kidding. After watching roadies uncover red-clad gear and a red stage floor in keeping with the new album's artwork, the crowd was plunged into darkness as we waited for Queens of the Stone Age to begin.

A grid of brightly-lit squares illuminated the stage and provided a digital countdown from 59 seconds. It sounded like we were in a jumbo jet with the windows rolled down, and the sound made the stadium seats rumble and vibrate as though we were hurtling down a runway. No one paid attention to the stay in your seats during take-off rule though. Everyone was on their feet before the clock read zero, and that is where they stayed for the rest of the show.

QOTSA

The band opened with Keep Your Eyes Peeled from the new album on a smoke-filled, backlit stage that made Homme look even more formidable than his 6' 5" height makes him. Even though we were in an arena-setting, the vocals and instrumentals were crisp and as close to flawless as they could be for that kind of venue. Homme's voice (despite being under the weather) filled the space and—allow me to get all girly here for a moment—made my insides knock against my rib cage and my spine go loose like a length of rope waiting to be coiled.

 

Rock should be heavy enough for the boys

and sweet enough for the girls.

That way everyone's happy

and it's more of a party

~  Josh Homme (2000) 

 

Along with long-time guitarist and percussionist, Troy Van Leeuwen, and Michael Schuman on bass guitar, Dean Fertita on keyboards and recent addition Jon Theodore on drums, the band seemed to put any ego aside and create an atmosphere that welcomed everyone to join the party. 

The lighting provided an added ambiance and lent itself well to the melodic and rhythmic sounds inherent to the band and their über-talented instrumentalists. They weaved back and forth from old to new songs—though the enthusiasm of the crowd proved all of their songs are being played on repeat. 

Stand out numbers and crowd-pleasers were: If I Had a Tail, Smooth Sailing, and Lost Art of Keeping a Secret, while mellow numbers like The Vampyre of Time and Memory showcased the phenomenal back up vocals of the band members, as well as Homme's versatility as a musician (he played keyboard and guitar).  

With high praise for their previous albums behind them, Homme was quoted as saying it didn't affect the way he viewed their newest album—which includes high-profile collaborations from Trent Reznor, Jake Shears, Alex Turner, James Lavelle, Brody Dalle, Dave Grohl, Elton John (who told Homme he needed a real "queen" on the album) and former band drummer, Joey Castillo.

 

The only pressure is

(making sure that)

it won't be the same as the one before

~ Homme

 

After their encore performance of A Song For the Dead, which included a phenomenal drum solo by Theodore, JB turned to me and said, 

That's the next song I'm going to teach [our 10-year-old drummer son] to play.

And so I was reminded that we're just like them, really.

Focusing only on what matters. 

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Our deepest gratitude to Budweiser Gardens #BGReviewer program for choosing me to review this unforgettable show.

Your venue and staff were welcoming and generous.

We look forward to coming back.

 

 

 

 

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{GUEST POST}: Back To School Bars

Happy New Year! It's good to be back to routine and familiar rhythms, isn't it? Though when it comes to making school lunches, I'm sure there are more than a few of us who want to stay in holiday mode awhile longer. 

Let me help by introducing my very first guest blogger, Maggie Savage. I approached Maggie because I'm not only a big fan of her blog She Let Them Eat Cake, but of her beautiful outlook on family life.

Maggie

Maggie has dedicated herself to cooking and living gluten-free since her husband was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2004 and later made the decision to raise her two young children gluten-free as well.

Although we aren't gluten-free at our house, we've become more aware of the value of reducing processed elements in the food we eat, which naturally eliminated a lot of gluten.

In the past year, I set a goal of putting less ready-made and more homemade food into my kids' lunches. I'm not perfect, but I'm trying. 

Maggie does a great job of showing us that gluten-free is not only healthy but delicious. Her photos are gorgeous and her knowledge and creativity are plentiful. 

Welcome, Maggie! So happy to have you here. 

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As we head into the new year (I know, I can’t believe it either), I feel like I’m stuck in a lunchbox rut.  My kids seem happy enough with the same old lunches, but I’m ready to switch things up a bit! 

Packing a healthy, delicious, nut-free and gluten-free lunch isn’t always that easy.  I like to make sure every lunch has some sort of a homemade treat.

Here are some tips to help you switch up the lunchbox a little.  

  • Find a good, nutrient-dense cupcake or cake recipe, make sure it’s one that your child has tested and approved. Top mini cupcakes (I use a mini muffin pan) with chocolate avocado pudding instead of sugar-filled icing. Keep a few frozen so you can pull them out on a moment’s notice – they’ll be thawed by lunchtime!
  • Get a good cookie recipe too – I like to make sure my school-bound baked goodies are nutrient dense and nut-free. Baking with grain-free flours and high protein grains will help to balance out the sugar rush and make for optimum learning (and less tummy aches).  I like to use unrefined sugars in my baking too (sucanat, coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey).
  • Get your kids into the kitchen and baking with you.  I let my kids pick a recipe from one of my cookbooks, that way I know they’re at least going to try it.  And we always have fun baking together, plus it’s basically science and math in action!  They’ll be proud when they see their baked good in the lunchbox.
  • Instead of buying granola bars, try making your own.  Store-bought granola bars are actually quite high in sugar and oils.  Making your own let’s you choose healthier ingredients, and you can cater the ingredients to your kiddies tastes. 

These gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free chocolate chip granola bars are delicious and nutritious (definitely not taste-free). 

Maggiebars

2 cups certified gluten-free oats (if gluten is an issue)

1 cup pumpkin seed flour (ground raw pumpkin seeds)

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

½ cup raw sesame seeds or sunflower seeds

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ cup coconut oil, liquefied

1 tbsp psyllium husks

½ cup local honey

2 tablespoons ground chia combined with ¼ cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla

½ cup chocolate chips or dried fruit

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper (put a little oil under the parchment to make it stick to the pan).

2. In a large bowl stir together the oats, pumpkin seed flour, pumpkin seeds, sesame or sunflower seeds, sea salt, and cinnamon.

3. In a smaller bowl, combine the coconut oil, psyllium husks, honey, chia and water mixture, and vanilla.

4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine.  Fold in chocolate chips or dried fruit. 

5. Use a wet spatula to press the mixture into the prepared pan.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (watch them).  Cool ten minutes in the pan and then carefully remove the granola bars (still in parchment).  Cool another ten minutes and then carefully remove the parchment paper and let cool completely.   Cut into desired sizes.  Refrigerate granola bars in an air-tight container or wrapped in saran.  These can easily be stored in the freezer for future use.

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You can also be inspired by Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

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