Last night, Queens Of The Stone Age invaded Chicago's House Of Blues for a special Q101 April Foolishness concert. Tickets for the event could only be won by fans at various "on location" promotions and on-air giveaways, but there was no shortage of fan turnout. In fact, as I arrived at BIN 36 (across the street from HOB) for some pre-show eats with Q101 midday cutie Nikki and Interscope's Tom Schmall, the line for the show was already stretching around the block. Around 7:30, we braved the various security checkpoints and made our way to the floor to catch the opening act, Chicago's own Ivory Wire.
Ivory Wire got things started out right with selections from their debut album, The World Is Flat. Frontman Chuck Gladfelter and axeman Robert Byrne energized the growing crowd with their electric guitar onslaught. Byrne was possessed by the sound of his guitar and danced and rock jumped across the stage with everything he had. The six or seven-song set ended with a round of cheers and it was up to the Foundation room for some free beer courtesy of the good folks at Budweiser.
As long as the free beer flowed, the Foundation room was packed with most of the local industry crowd and Q101's extended family, but as soon as 9:45 rolled around and Queens were getting ready to take the stage, the room emptied and the opera boxes filled up to capacity in anticipation of the ROCK.
Queens Of The Stone Age took the stage just before 10pm and immediately cranked up the volume. The crowd erupted, as did my eardrums, and the next 90 minutes were an excursion into the world of hard-rocking, technically proficient, metal-psychedelia. Mark Lanegan of Seattle's Screaming Trees joined the band for about half of their set, taking over vocal duties for Josh Homme. The band belted out song after song, taking little time to chat with the crowd. They dipped into their catalog, as well as a few from their latest Interscope release, Songs For The Deaf, but as was expected, "No One Knows" got the biggest response from the HOB crowd.
All in all, it was a great way to spend a Tuesday night. Thanks to Q101, Budweiser and all of the bands for a great time.
NOTE: Chicago-based band Head On, who recently signed to Columbia, held the second opening slot. The band was signed after only two gigs and their debut full-length, Inside, will be released later this spring. I'd tell you more, but I didn't actually see their set. I heard it was pretty good though.