On October 6, the notorious Josh Homme graced Chicago with a live performance at the historic Belmont Army Surplus closing party. The amplified acoustic set was part of a super sweet renegade tour Queens Of Stone Age has undertaken, having first announced plans to make a series of cross the country appearances via their website on September 22. The semi-secret tour has already brought QOTSA through Portland and most recently Chicago. Each limited show promises an intimate engagement with Homme and a chance to share some good live music with fewer than 300 other enthusiasts.
When word of the Chicago appearance began to spread, it seemed almost too bizarre to believe. Could Queens Of The Stone Age really be playing a show at Belmont Army Surplus? Bands of that magnitude sell out arenas. Besides, Belmont Army Surplus isn’t even a venue. It’s a retail shop that sells designer fashions, skateboard apparel and army supplies. But in the days leading up to the event I found that local rumors were indeed true, and the band would be performing as part of the store's closing celebration. Belmont Army Surplus has been a staple of the Chicago alternative community for years, making QOTSA’s unique choice genuinely authentic. The store, however, is closing its doors until spring while they proceed to relocate, since the city is taking over their three-story building to make improvements to the Belmont "El" stop.
With no surprise, the show started slightly later than announced, but after downing numerous PBRs courtesy of The Onion, Homme’s tardiness was no serious offence. Following an extensive sound check, fans were invited to the second floor where we all gathered on the carpet circling the performance area. Members of the audience would throw a wise crack to Homme, who instinctively would return the favor twice as smart. Homme managed to meld with the audience, making for a truly intimate look at the QOTSA frontman and the rest of his cohorts. He shared his beer with a girl sitting beside him on stage and offered advice to random fans while supplying humorous commentary. It was like watching a friend rock out on an acoustic guitar at some backyard BBQ. The band remained very casual throughout the night, playing classic favorites like “Give The Mule What He Wants.”
It is events such as these that set QOTSA apart from others. The spontaneous nature of the tour spawns excitement and rewards true fans with an opportunity to meet their idols. After a lengthy set, it was rumored that Homme would switch to drums for an extra extra secret appearance with Eagles of Metal that same night at the Liars Club. The band will be making their next appearance at Waterloo Records, Tuesday Oct. 18th , but watch the Queens Of The Stone Age website for future updates on the band’s Renegade Tour.