Chaos Control Draws Punks of All Ages to Downtown Denton

But can the new venue weather business without liquor sales?

With a scuffed wood floor, black ceiling tiles and strands of Christmas lights hanging on the sparsely decorated walls, Chaos Control looks like a ramshackle dive bar that's, well, missing its bar. And because it doesn't serve alcohol or allow drinking or smoking inside its space, Denton's newest rock venue is also missing the typical cadre of drunken frat boys and girls that frequent the city's clubs.

Instead, the all-ages venue is attracting hundreds of punk rock kids into the heart of downtown Denton.

It's located on West Hickory Street, two blocks off Denton's town square, and owner Jan Foust-Vallon says Chaos Control will host primarily punk, metal and hardcore shows on Friday and Saturday nights, eventually adding nights devoted to country, hip-hop and other genres once the venue gets "up and running."

"Right now, everything in here is makeshift," Foust-Vallon says. Since opening two weeks ago, they've started transforming what was a dusty storefront into a barebones rock venue. "We threw the stage together using some wood that was already the building, and most of the stuff we used to decorate was scrap materials that we found in here too. We're starting out small, and we're gonna try to slowly build it up."

But how easy will it be to build the venue when drink sales are the financial bread-and-butter of rock clubs? Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios' owner Josh Baish says that before his venue acquired its license to sell beer and alcohol, the club struggled to make it nearly every month.

"I wish them the best of luck," Baish says. "But without selling alcohol, I don't know how they're gonna make enough money to pay the bills and the bands. I mean, we make absolutely nothing from our shows; we make all of our money from the alcohol sales."

But turning the venue into a cash cow isn't Foust-Vallon's primary concern.

"Obviously, I want to make a little bit of money because of how much work we've put into it," she says. "But for me, it's all about giving the kids a place to go, where they can hang out. It's important that they have a scene too, a place to go that they can call their own."

Adds Chaos Control manager, Cory Robinson: "Denton is a college town with plenty of bars and clubs lining the streets, but there wasn't any where for the younger kids to go and have fun and let out all their angst after school, tests and homework."

And, so far, with an average of 125 kids showing up on Friday and Saturday nights willing to pay $5 to $7 for admission and the chance to pogo and skank out their angst, well, it looks like Chaos Control is off to a good start.

 
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