Vans Presents Wax Trax! Experience @ House of Vans Chicago with Ministry and Cold Cave

Posted By: Zoe Drellishak

Vans helped Chicago celebrate Record Store Day yesterday by hosting a huge Wax Trax! commemorative event at the House of Vans. 

I arrived promptly at 5:15pm to get in line to see the special screening of Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records. The line to get in wrapped around the building. This surprised me, because in order to attend the special screening you would’ve had to have gone to a local record store and purchased a special release in order to get a VIP wristband for admission. As it turns out, MANY people supported their local record store this past Saturday.

For the event they constructed a makeshift record store, which featured many copies of Wax Trax artists on vinyl, cassette, and CD. There was also a poster and merch section.

The bar at the House of Vans had many choices of free drinks for this special event, including: Old Man Grumpy Pale Ale, 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Virtue Rosé Cider, and upstairs in the VIP lounge, Natural Villain and John Daly’s. 

I walked outside to the back of the venue while waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive and saw a taco truck and a hangout area for guests to enjoy their food. I hung out in this outdoor area for a while and then decided to go inside, seeing that the venue was almost full. I secured a spot in the back as the film began to play.

The film explained the founding of Wax Trax and how it evolved from a large record collection of two men in Colorado, to playing a key role in the development of new wave, punk rock, and industrial music scenes, and America’s leading industrial label of the 1980s and ’90s. Fans cheered when they saw friends and family being shown in the film, and everybody stood up to give a warm standing ovation at the film’s end.

Next, there was a panel discussion consisting of record store owner Rick Wojcik who is the owner of Dusty Groove Records, Paul Barker and Chris Connelly which were both members of the band Ministry, and others. Fans eagerly passed the microphone around the crowd, asking questions like “How did you develop your sound?” and many more.

The crowd dispersed quickly, as per the instruction of the House of Vans employees, to clear the way for Cold Cave’s performance. There was only around a twenty-minute wait until the supporting act, Cold Cave, took the stage.

Cold Cave lead singer Wesley Eisold

Cold Cave put on an entertaining show. With lead singer Wesley Eisold sounding eerily similar to Robert Smith of The Cure, his vocals and instrumental perefctly matched the light show and projections. The set had a steady groove that flowed effortlessly from one song to the next. Everyone in the crowd was nodding along to each track. 

The crowd was so tightly packed awaiting Ministry’s performance, that I wasn’t able to squeeze my way back up to the photo pit (and I didn’t want to be THAT girl pushing past all of the dedicated fans of the band). 

The stage crew brought out a huge cow skull microphone for front man Al Jourgensen. This band came out shredding. The crowd went into a frenzy. I have never been to a concert where the entire crowd was moshing before last night. It was a little rough, but you could really tell that the energy from the crowd and from the band were both feeding off of each other. Ministry played a few deep cuts, and even played an acoustic version of their classic track “Every Day is Halloween”. The band also brought out Revolting Cocks member, and former Ministry member, Chris Connelly for their song “No Devotion”.

Thanks to Vans and Wax Trax for putting on this unique event, along with Cold Cave and Ministry for the great performances. House of Vans never disappoints! Thanks to this event, I learned so much about industral music, the music scene in the 90’s in Chicago, and what it takes to celebrate something you love. 

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