In the early 80s, when Chicago’s hardcore punk scene was thriving, Out of Order commanded a devoted statewide following of Mohawked and flanneled teenagers who thrashed in counterclockwise circles and screamed out the choruses to burners like “Concerned,” “Cell Block B,” and “Survival of the Fittest.” The quartet had talent to spare, but when the scene fell on hard times, Out of Order did too. Many of the all-ages venues willing to host hardcore at the time were here-today, gone-tomorrow operations, and in 1987, after Metro banned punk shows–skinhead violence had erupted outside the club following a D.O.A. gig–local bookings dried up almost completely. The only way to play, it seemed, was to convince a club you weren’t really that punk. That’s just what Out of Order did, writing a cache of tamer, lamer songs to stay onstage. In 1988, though, the boys pulled a bait and switch at Metro: on the strength of this “improved” material, they booked a show–then played a glorious all-thrash set, wowing their fans and pissing off their hosts. As a gesture it was punk as hell, but inviting the ill will of Joe Shanahan would turn out to be just one nail in their coffin. A record they’d released through the Melrose Park-based label Walkthrufyre ran into distribution problems. Their van blew up, so they couldn’t play outside Chicago either. Finally, in 1990 vocalist Devon Brock, frustrated with the toned-down tunes–he’d never really sung notes and didn’t want to learn–moved to South Dakota to be a writer. Out of Order’s best moments recently have been collected on a 25-song CD, Survival of the Fittest (Victory), which includes early demos of that song, the entire Walkthrufyre album, and a handful of rare live cuts. It opens with infamous Jam Productions bouncer Jolly trying to lecture a crowd: “Of this type of music, there is less and less of it in Chicago. The reason is because when people leave the clubs they act like jagoffs.” But I expect people will act like the law-abiding taxpayers they’ve grown up to be when the old lineup hits the stage tonight for a one-time-only all-ages show at–where else?–Metro. Hi-Fi & the Roadburners and Greyarea open. Friday, 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203. CARA JEPSEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Devon Brock uncredited photo.