I was noodling around this bookstore's cd section one day, when I spotted Rated R. I've been a QOTSA fan since 1999, when they toured with the Smashing Pumpkins, but at that time, I hadn't listened to the first album in some time and had for all intents and purposes forgotten about them. I was really surprised to see a new album from them, and I bought it on the spot. When I took it home, I noticed the URL for the official site on the back, went there, and found out that they'd be playing near me in about a month. So, I scrounged up as much cash as I could for a hotel room and food and stuff, and my parents were cool enough to let me make the four hour drive from Monroe, LA, to Little Rock, AR, and see an evil rock band by myself.
I left earlier than I should have, so when I got there and did all the nessecary hotel stuff, I had about an hour or two to kill before the opening band went on. Vino's is this pizza place with a bar in the back. The bar, which is totally separate from the pizza parlor, is about twice the size of my living room. I do not have a large living room. It wasn't the coolest place I've ever been, but given its location, it was pretty okay. I hung out for a while, and ate one of their big ass slices of pizza before I paid my $10 to get into the bar area. There were already about 15 people there who were hanging out at the small bar in the front of the room or at the table along the wall, but no one was really excited about the Queens being there. They'd come because it was a show. Anyway, all the band's equipment was laid out beside the soundboard. I sat down on this bench between it and the table where shirts and cds were being sold. I got two shirts, and some promo stickers, and after the opening band played, I snatched two posters off the wall.
As it got closer to start time, more people started to show up, but only about 30-40 people were there at any given time. The opening band played a short set. They were just like every other rap-metal band out there right now, but they played a little Feel Good tease before their last song. The crowd loved them. They were head banging and moshing (well, as much as one can mosh in a crowd that small). They left, and the crowd, which was packed against the stage, dispersed while QOTSA's rodies set up their stuff. I went over the stage to make sure I got a good spot and watched them set up. I was leaning half against one of the speakers and half against the stage, which was about waste high on me (I'm 5'2", if that tells you anything). I was between Nick and Brendon, and about three feet in front of both of them. The crowd sensed that the band was about to come on, so they gathered around the stage again, and not long after that, QOTSA showed up. Vino's has no backstage area that I could discern. The band had to walk between the crowd to get to the stage. They played an awesome set, but the crowd was not into them at all. One guy next to me was head banging, and some other people jumped around every now and then, but other than that, they just stood there. Alot of people left. The band didn't say alot and didn't play the encore that was listed on the set, probably because of the crowd. After the show was over, though, Nick hung out and partied with everyone. He's a really cool guy. He was talking to about five people at once, but he was really enjoying himself. He'd ended up with two beers somehow, so he gave me one. Cool guy, no? Josh disappeared after they were done (he looked really fucked up, like he was sick or having a bad trip or something), and Gene was dismantling his drumset and talking to people. Hutch and Brendon disappeared as well. One of the roadies gave me a setlist, and the band was cool enough to sign my Rated R cd liner.
For a first QOTSA show, it wasn't too damn bad at all. If you ever get a chance to see QOTSA in a place as small as Vino's, don't hesitate. A surrounding that's that intimate makes everything much cooler.