This was something I wanted to do in a long time but never quite had the right chance to set into action. Ever since I heard that there was a new squat I was pretty excited, because things like that don’t happen around here that often anymore. So when at the beginning of this year there was a huge stand-off between the cops and the squatters, which I only followed through Twitter (boy, at times like those these new things really come in handy, don’t they?) I figured that I had to hurry to catch at least a glimpse of that venue. It turned out that squatters were able to reach some form of agreement with the company who owns the building complex and so, if I remember it correctly they will be allowed to stay in the building at least until October. What got me to move my ass over the Rhine was the release show of Cologne’s part-time alcoholics punk/hardcore kings Cobretti, who I hand’t seen in quite some time.
Along with them to play were Hamburg’s Just Went Black who happened to play a show with amodestproposal a few years back so that was enough to get me moving. Before I entered the free realms of the Autonomes Zentrum though I stopped by at Cologne’s most wonderful punkrock bar, the “Trash Chic “which is run by a good friend of mine who took some time to talk to me. Sometimes it really is nice to find some places that don’t change that much. The place is a wonderful melting pot, drawing an audience of, of course, leftist punkrockers and hardcore kids, but also your local neighbourhood people who possibly remember that place as their old regular bar. So the atmosphere is pretty lively and pleasant. If you ever happen to come to Cologne, be sure to stop by. They also feature nice food and a large collection of beverages from all over the world.
I enjoyed two beers and a good conversation and then just headed down the street. And, yup, that place really is huge. Turned out I was just on time for the first band, Gust from Sweden. And, that’s also true, there’s some things that never get old and one of those has to be Crust-Bands at squats. This was no exception. This is in no way intended to make fun of them, but that’s somehting that with time can get pretty boring. Take any Crust-Band you like, the band and their supporters will look and behave exactly like any other band from that genre. I have to say, Gust were a slight exception though, as they covered Strife‘s “Overthrow“, which was something I didn’t really expect.
While waiting for the next band I was able to talk to quite a few people I hadn’t seen in a long time (which might just as well have been my unofficial motto for the evening) and catch up with what they had been up to over the past few years. When I got back in to get something to drink Remember already started playing. Not that this was something special, just your average hardcore band. Again, the setting made it look very cliché, but that’s what you get when you go to places like a squat. Maybe it’s also because by now I have seen a few shows so the element of surprise isn’t quite there anymore. They were okay, people seemed to like them, that’s all that counts.
Man The Change were a different animal though, as their brand of hardcore had a lot more downtempo- and mosh-parts. Their guitarists were adding to that. If my mind doesn’t play tricks on me they were also the first band of the evening to get the crowd moving. Still this again wasn’t really a revelation, but decent. What was most entertaining to me was the Mannheim dialect the singer was speaking.
Next up were Just Went Black and they took it up a notch. You could really sense the difference between and the rest of the pack who had played so far. They have been around for 10 years now and by the time they start their set you just simply know that. Routine in a sense that the band knows what they are doing, not in a repetative way. From the first note on there was tension in the air that at some point had to break loose. Funnily enough it came after the band botched the intro for one song. After that people went, well, not exactly crazy, but they got the crowd moving quite a bit. What I like about them, although I don’t own any records, is that them being a hardcore band they still manage to incorporate a lot of other elements to their style. It’s just not average. It’s interesting and makes you want to listen to more.
So they were the perfect setup for Cologne’s finest Cobretti, who, when I last saw them, were more drunk than all of the audience in front of the stage. That’s the image they have in my mind. Like a wannabe Hammerhead hardcore version. That isn’t meant to be derogative, by the way. I like those guys a lot. They just live the spirit of punkrock I claim to be my kind as well. Unfortunately for me they were opening their set so late I was only able to catch three songs, but with a packed room and an audience who was willing to get it going, the show took off to a great start. From what I was able to catch up they now have a pretty broad spectrum of music in their repertoire. One song (an old one) sounded like your average hardcore with a few melodies, but another one was clearly influenced by a lof of Black Sabbath-Doom. It almost sounded like the way a lot of hardcore bands from the late 1980’s took in the early 1990’s. Take Uniform Choice or SSD.
Well, all good things had to come to an end so after grabbing a copy of their new record I left for my train back home. In times like these I am really thankful I get to experience shows like this one.