A few months back, my Facebook news feed was filled with chatter about a show that sounded too good to be true. The lineup was just too epic – Toys That Kill and Dillinger Four opening for The Lawrence Arms at a newer venue called House of Vans. A quick Google search informed me that House of Vans is a warehouse in Chicago’s Near West Side owned and operated by – you got it – Vans. The building is filled with skate ramps and also a stage for occasional shows. This show would be free, there was an open bar, and all you had to do was RSVP online and then wait in line outside on the day of to enter.
Despite the fact that Chicago was in the midst of a summer heatwave on the day of the show, people started lining up as soon as they were allowed. By the time I got there, the line wrapped fully around the building. Inside, the venue was massive, stretching for the better part of a Chicago block. The hoard of fans started to pile inside which is when I realized… there were no air conditioners and no fans anywhere. Of course, this caused an initial bout of sweat as soon as I realized it. I call that the ‘panic sweat’. The “Oh my god. I’m going to sweat to death and I wore a green skirt which shows any wetness so it will look like I peed myself!” sweat. But as the night wore on, everyone was soon drenched too and no one seemed to care anymore. Or perhaps the apathy stemmed from the open bar filled with assorted Goose Island beers and ciders.
Either way, the show was just as impressive as I had hoped. I saw friends I rarely see who live here in Chicago and also friends from all over the country – from New Orleans to St. Louis to Los Angeles and even a few from Canada! The venue – albeit VERY warm – was great and the bouncers were kind to the audience members which, unfortunately, is a feat at larger shows nowadays. The bands sounded great and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Plus the show ended at 10PM, so there was plenty of night left to either go out and grab a few drinks or to head home and bathe in sweet, sweet circulated air.
8 out of 10 would come back again (2 point margin of error due to heat exhaustion)
Check out the photos of the night below!
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