Chicago Hardcore Night at Sleeping Village

By John Cotter

$1 Beer Night at Sleeping Village in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood is already an alluring grab for any local venue, but booking illusion of choice, INSTILL, and BUGGIN on the three-band bill this past Monday made it an unforgettable night — that is, unless you took advantage of those cheap PBRs.

Illusion of Choice started the night off slow and angsty with a rendition of Weezer’s classic “Tired of Sex,” a song that I reluctantly enjoy, and one that thematically suited the band’s satirically dreary attitude. The nostalgic energy from the 90’s cover poured into the rest of the band’s songs, including“Bad Boy” and “Don’t Wanna Be Here.” The set was strangely soothing, and a bit looming, considering the pent up energy that was forming in mosh pit as Illusion of Choice finished and INSTILL started to set up.

INSTILL borrowed sonic signifiers of the past to mold their hardcore punk sound, which resonated with me after only a few guitar riffs. As someone who is fairly new to this scene, their set made me feel right at home. 

The venue’s “no stage diving” rule was in direct opposition to the turbulent energy oozing through each leg-swing and hair-flip, but that energy was barely contained in the pit. I remember seeing one person fall and three people immediately pulling them up — an unspoken rule for hardcore mosh pits — and it was that strange contrast between the unrestrained moshing and the innate care for one another that made the night so memorable. If I was crafting the next “Tony Hawk: Underground” soundtrack, these guys would be the first on the tracklist. 

Unfortunately, Cotter was unable to photograph BUGGIN, but you can listen to the band’s latest release below.

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