The Black Hole, located near the corner of Sacramento and 26th Street, is billed as a “family entertainment center.” Paintings on the windows depict the wholesome entertainment to be had within: a dignified and mustachioed man plays pool with his son, while mom and sis face off on the next table. Sportsmanship permeates the air and, from the looks of youthful wonder on the children’s faces, it is clear that this painted scene has captured an important moment of character building. Family ties are being strengthened and the children are being kept off the streets. Of course, stupid family time gets old quickly and The Black Hole is equipped for some real fun when that happens. Next to the pool tables is a full video arcade where children can learn how to kill each other as quickly as possible on a limited budget, while mom and dad sip cans of Miller Light at the bar.
Some nights, the families are cleared out and the Black Hole serves as a venue for hardcore punk shows such as Chicago Apocalypticrust Fest in early October, or last weekend’s Latino Fest. Located in a shopping center that also includes a taqueria, a bakery, and discount stores, The Black Hole probably holds the record for hardcore venue with the largest parking lot. On my first visit, I took advantage of this fact and found myself a nice roomy space away from all the ruckus. Parking the car, I observed a run-down RV in the parking lot. Occasionally people would emerge and later return. The RV would occasionally leave one parking space and move to another. Returning on Saturday for Latino Fest, I observed the same RV in action again. Unless crystal meth use has permeated hardcore culture, I suspect the goings on in this RV are not very hardcore.
Of course, the quality of the music was excellent at both Chicago Apocalypticrust Fest and Latino Fest. It spoke for itself and my analysis is worth little, which is why I’ve barely even mentioned it and instead focus on the venue’s sign and parking lot. A review would basically say: “Burst of insane brutality followed by burst of insane brutality. All songs were very short.” Fleshing out this point into 300-odd words would require me to make a lot of shit up and completely ruin the fun of the show, assuming that people who care about hardcore don’t completely avoid this section of the Weekly by now anyway.