With the addition of the Touch & Go 25th anniversary theme, the Hideout’s annual Block Party has become a bigger affair than ever before. All three days sold out in advance? Wow. Well, I guess there are many fans of ’80s and ’90s punk-rock flocking to this event to relive their old glory days. I have to admit there are a lot of bands on the lineup that I don’t know all that well — in many cases, I knew these bands more by their reputation than their music. So I feel inadequate to the task of giving a really well-informed critique of their performances, but I was eager to see and hear what I’ve been missing.
As it all got under way, Hideout head honcho Tim Tuten thanked the city for allowing the Hideout to use the parking lot next to Wabansia, where garbage trucks are normally parked. He said the city workers had been cleaning up and preparing the area for the festival for the past couple of weeks — and a couple of the guys had asked him if Twisted Sister would be reuniting for the party. Yeah, he told them, they’re playing at 8 o’clock on Saturday. As always at the Hideout’s block parties, it’s strange but somehow fitting to see that hulking Department of Fleet Management building behind the stage, with old brick factories ringing the rest of the site. An industrial setting for Chicago rock music.
Friday night got off to a good start, with the Shipping News. I didn’t care much for the dance music of Supersystem, but the next set by Girls Vs. Boys was strong. I would have liked to stick around for Ted Leo and !!!, but I also had a ticket to see M. Ward and Oakley Hall at Metro (a must-see for me), so I headed uptown at 8 p.m.