The Chemiefabrik (Chemical Factory) is where Dresden punk shows run off to when the noise complaints from AZ Conni’s neighbors start to become a problem. Every Thursday they have Jugendtanz (Youth Dance) there as well. But don’t bother with that. The music is terrible, and on the days when it’s a little less terrible, it’s still not worth the entrance fee. Even if you can sometimes buy your way in with dumpstered honey.
I don’t know if the Chemiefabrik was ever really a chemical factory. There are other industrial buildings in the area, and one story is as likely as the next. There are no bathrooms, just a few places to crouch between trees and graffiti covered walls around back. Sometimes there’s a big bonfire outside, and the inside is covered with posters of bands who’ve played there.
There is a long bar where a Sterni costs EUR 1.30. Highway fucking robbery if you consider that a Sterni costs exactly 34 cents at the grocery store. It’s easy to rob poor planners, and by the time you get there and remember that you should have bought your own Sternis at the grocery store, all of the grocery stores are closed. All the same, it’s still cheaper than you’d pay at a regular bar.
On Wednesday I got off my lazy, broke ass, and shelled out 5 euros to see Contempt. A friend had organized the show, and well, it’s not like I have to wake up early mornings.
Dallas Denver opened—a local band. They don’t look like anything special or play like anything special, but they’re not unpleasant either, mostly because of the row of high school-age groupies who were standing up front with homemade, red glitter Dallas Denver shirts and an “I heart Conrad” sign sprayed in blue on an old piece of cardboard. The crowd bobed a little, a nod of appreciation for the attempt but not much more, and the teenie fans insisted on an encore. It was adorable actually.
The usual punk crowd was there. The girls with rows of peircings, Mohawks, and layers of ripped stockings. The boys in leather jackets, covered in spikes and pins and dirt. The rocknroll cats in tight tapered black pants, ripped black Converse or striped Vans slip ons. Black t-shirts screen printed in white. Patched pants. You’re probably familiar with the cast, set, and costumes already anyway.
Contempt came on around the second or third beer. And they have it—that charisma and energy that’s hard to describe and impossible to fake, but that has the crowd dancing by the first song. The drummer sat back in the shadows. One faded green Mohawk down the center of his head, wearing a black Contempt T-shirt screen printed in white. The guitarist—that’s right, another black T-shirt screen printed in white. The bassist was one of the punk rock chicks. Three layers of Mohawk, a chain connecting one of the peircings in her ears with one of the peircings in her nose. She’s filling in for someone named Trog, the singer told us from behind long brown dreadlocks.
There was a miniature pit and the rest of the crowd remained in the shadows, one hand holding a beer and the other in a pocket, back heels tapping to the beat.
It’s not earthshattering, but it’s a reason to thrash out two weeks of pent up aggression, and I went home sweaty and exhausted. The sound the speakers leave in my ears to fall asleep to sounds like a flock of restless seagulls.