The Scummies, No Candor, The 1-800’s, Cruel Universe at Val’s Halla

Show Review

Photo: Zoe Finkelman

The Scummies, No Candor, The 1-800’s, and Cruel Universe played a show on March 3rd at Val’s Halla Records, located in Oak Park, IL. Val’s Halla is a long-standing record store known for their in-store performances. It’s a typical-sized record store, maybe slightly larger than average, so there was only a small area in front of the stage to move around, resulting in a lot of people standing in the aisles. All the bands had some kind of punk influence, but they were each very different from each other. I arrived sometime in the middle of Cruel Universe’s set.

Cruel Universe

Cruel Universe bassist, Red. Photo: Zoe Finkelman

Cruel Universe was the heaviest band out of all of them, and I really liked their metal-punk sound. They played a cover of “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, and I liked their rendition of it with more growled vocals.

I wish I got to see the parts of their set I missed, because I think their musical style was my favorite out of all the bands. They tried to get more people moshing, and there was a little bit of a mosh, but most people in the crowd were lacking energy. I was going hard and headbanging though.

It was probably due to the fact they were the first band and that the venue was a record store, so maybe people were trying to be more careful so as to not knock anything over. However, I think this band definitely deserved more of an energetic moshing crowd.



Red, bassist of Cruel Universe. Photo: Zoe Finkelman
Photo: Zoe Finkelman

The 1-800’s

Drummer M.D. in chicken suit. Photo: Zoe Finkelman

I had seen The 1-800’s twice before at The Niles House, and I feel they were equally good all the times I saw them, but this time their comedic banter was at its peak. Their unique stage presence helped them stand out, from their drummer wearing a chicken suit to their hilarious commentary.

Left to right: Louie and Antonio of The 1-800’s. Photo: Zoe Finkelman

With great music on top of that, they were very entertaining to watch. Their sound is difficult to describe, but definitely has classic punk influences with spurts of fast mosh-drumming on songs like “Giant Green Slug” (a personal favorite), with a little bit of a Smashing Pumpkins vibe.

Chris playing bass guitar. Photo: Zoe Finkelman

No Candor

Bassist of No Candor crowd surfing. Photo: Zoe Finkelman

I had also seen No Candor once before at The Niles House and enjoyed their set there. They started out with a more chill vibe, but in the middle of their set, they suddenly got the crowd to go wild and start moshing.

M.D. (drummer of The 1-800’s) in chicken suit onstage with No Candor. Photo: Zoe Finkelman

Their set was the point in the show with the most moshing and the most crowd-participation. They asked people to come onto the stage and dance as they performed. Of course, my friend and I obliged along with a few other crowd members.

Me (red hair) on stage with band & other crowd members. Photo: Zoe Finkelman

The stage was small so I was trying not to step on one of the cords and accidentally unplug anything. But I was still able to head bang and had a great time. That was the most fun part of the show for me.

Bonus clips of me onstage: me onstage     my view from stage

Chicken watching concert. Photo: Zoe Finkelman

The Scummies

Scummies drummer/singer goin' at it
Photo: Zoe Finkelman

Then it was time for The Scummies. I think the sound quality for this band was the clearest, which is usually the case at shows in general–because by the time they get to the last band of the night, they usually have all the kinks sorted out. The drummer was the lead vocalist, which you don’t typically see, and his vocal style reminded me a little of The Dead Kennedys.

Photo: Zoe Finkelman

He was really giving his all into the performance, a kind of crazed look on his face which was turning red as he shouted into the mic. I was concerned he might pass out before the host of the event handed him a water bottle. I appreciated his passion though. The bassist told a cheesy joke at one point that had the whole crowd laughing. At one point they played a John Cougar Mellencamp song, which was unexpected. This band was very talented but they weren’t my favorite; I just preferred the musical styles of the other bands better.

Overall, the bands were all enjoyable and entertaining and I had so much fun. I would definitely come back to Val’s Halla again for another show.


Check out Val’s Halla Records here

Check out the bands!

The Scummies

Instagram: @the.scummies      Spotify

No Candor

Instagram: @no.candor            Spotify

The 1-800’s

Instagram: @the1800sband     Spotify

Cruel Universe

Instagram: @cruel_universe     Spotify

Photos by Zoe Finkelman


Written by Noelle Matonis

Host & Producer of Pop-Punk & Pizza

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