No Delusions: A Chicago Hardcore Documentary DVD+zine



DVD release of this long-in-the-works documentary about the Chicago hardcore scene. Also comes with a 40-page zine.

Our take: I first learned about this project several years ago when Steven Cergizan, the creative force behind the project, stayed at my house along with Raw Nerve on their last tour. Steven also put together the short Raw Nerve documentary that appeared on DVD a while after the band's demise, but No Delusions constitutes a much more ambitious project. This is a feature-length documentary film that has production values as strong as just about any more widely-released punk documentary I've seen, and from what I understand it was done completely DIY. That alone is remarkable, but as anyone who has dug deep into Netflix or Hulu can tell you, it's far from an assurance of quality... if anything, the opposite is the case. Most low-budget DIY punk documentaries just suck. But not No Delusions. The unspoken (well, until the very end at least) premise of the film is to take issue with the statement in the other documentary film on Chicago punk, You Weren't There, that hardcore and punk died sometime in the mid-80s. Consequently, No Delusions picks up right where most punk documentaries leave off, i.e. in the mid-90s, which just happens to be precisely when I started going to shows. I wasn't anywhere near Chicago, but the footage of gigs from that time period is so indicative of what things were like... VFW halls, krisna beads, giant jeans, mosh parts, and crowds that seem incomprehensibly huge if the current, much more fragmented scene is your only frame of reference. Chicago's (post-?) hardcore scene in the mid-90s seems just about like any other scene from that time (or at the very least, it seems just like the scene in Virginia that I came up in), but as No Delusions makes its way into the new millennium the real story emerges. It's a story of a city divided between a white, suburban, straight edge-oriented scene and a largely non-white, urban, scene on the south side full of bands making music that is politically confrontational. Even from my limited experience with the Chicago punk scene I definitely saw that dynamic, and I feel very lucky that my first time playing Chicago was a killer south side show with No Slogan and Sin Orden. So, basically, I know which side of that debate / culture war / whatever you want to call it that I'm on! Still, I think that the movie does a pretty good job of addressing that divide in a way that feels objective, or at least sees the value in both sides. Now that the rules of how to put together these documentaries seem as codified and set in stone as Behind the Music they have started to feel rote, but No Delusions actually provokes thought, and ultimately that's what elevates it from being a nostalgia piece for those who were there to something that is worthwhile for people with a limited knowledge of or investment in Chicago hardcore.
Tags: 10s chicago dvds hardcore midwest recommended