In a city filled with storied musical venues, the prevailing attitude seems to be that there’s always room for more. So this past weekend, the creative community welcomed House of Vans Chicago. Situated on the city’s near west side, the new venture is a bit of an anomaly. On its first official night, it was definitely appropriated as a music venue, but its owners have a bigger vision for the space.
The few permanent features inside the cavernous space are a bar, a handful of skateboard ramps and a billboard-sized replica of Wrigley Field’s ivy covered outfield wall. But on this, the Grand Opening evening, the space played host to live music.
The evening’s headliners, Future Islands, usually fill three times the number of seats, so their performance here certainly qualified as intimate. Considering the shoemakers long affiliation with hip-hip, it seemed all to appropriate that the evening kicked off with local rising star Noname (Fatimah Warner) and, for the old schooler’s in attendance (of which there were plenty), Digable Planets.
Which serves as a perfect metaphor for Vans’ focus. The company has always celebrated its past, but always has its sights set on the future. So, whether it’s a skate park one day, an artist’s oasis the next or anything else its owners (or users, since the vibe is decidedly communal) can dream up, the new destination should prove to be a worthy addition to Chicago’s artistic landscape.
– Recap and gallery by Curt Baran