Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photography by Patrick Luhrs and Daniel Boczarski
It was a hot day, the Chicago summer in full swing. Standing in the heat was a huge line outside the House of Vans. Tonight’s event was sold out. This House of Vans House Party was curated by Taking Back Sunday, featuring Pronoun and Rozwell Kid.
Tattoo artist Brian Ewing created the art for this show. The artwork spread all over the walls had horror elements to it, with a pop art aesthetic.
Pronoun kicked things off. Alyse Vellturo, the indie/synth artist, is based in Brooklyn. She revealed that she was asked to be a part of this House of Vans show the last time she was in Chicago. Her first full-length LP, i’ll show you stronger, was released May 24, 2019.
Continuing the indie genre, Rozwell Kid came on next. This West Virginia band likes to incorporate comedy into their performances. Jordan Hudkins, the lead singer, started many call and responses with the audience. He asked if he should take his glasses off or leave them on and if he should wear his hat backwards or not.
The entire floor was packed. Everyone was ready for Taking Back Sunday. People were chattering over the music playing through the speakers, waiting.
It was time for the main event. Taking Back Sunday came on the stage.
A pit formed almost immediately. A group of men, who have been fans since the release of Tell All Your Friends in 2002, immediately occupied it.
Adam Lazzara gave a lot of anecdotes and fun facts about their history. Before the beginning of the band, he lived with guitarist John Nolan. They had a TV but didn’t have cable. They had the preview screen, so they could see the names of the programs. Lazzara, one night, decided that all songs on the first album would be named after program names he saw a preview for.
The track “Timberwolves at New Jersey” is actually named after the Minnesota basketball team, playing in New Jersey. But Lazzara did not know that. “Do I look like a sports guy?” he asked the audience. “I thought the people in New Jersey were getting attacked by Timberwolves!”
Their usual drummer, Mark O’Connell, was missing during the show. He was at home because his wife was expecting a child. She gave birth to a daughter on Saturday night.
He was replaced with Atom Williard of Against Me! Lazzara joked that “Laura Jane is never getting him back.”
The set ended with “MakeDamnSure” and “Cute Without The E.” The pit expanded from a concentrated circle in the middle to the entire floor in front of the stage. Everyone was going nuts, losing themselves.
People weren’t only losing themselves, but were losing glasses, phones, and bags. The rest of the audience was helpful, searching. Many of the lost items were returned broken or cracked after being accidentally trampled on.
The crowd chanted for one more song. But, as the last notes of “MakeDamnSure” rang out, the night was over. It was another great night at the House of Vans.