Clubbing with The Mars Volta at 101
by Lisa Y. Garibay
Posted on September 29, 2008
On the heels of last night's concert at the Abraham Chavez Theater, The Mars Volta are sneaking in a show at Club 101 tonight. Doors are at 8:30 pm and the band is expected to hit the stage around 10:00 pm. Advance tickets are available at Ticketbully.com for $15 and as of 10:00 am, more than 100 tickets had been sold despite limited word (a Club 101 email blast and an announcement on KLAQ). But with a capacity around 1,000 and the band's reknown, tickets could sell out well before tonight - especially given the fact that the band rarely performs in venues this intimate. Choosing to treat El Paso fans to a gig like this on their day off, The Mars Volta are giving a great nod to the city that cultivated such an acclaimed, trailblazing musical act.
Asked how the secret gig came about, Club 101 owner Joe Dorgan explained that it was rooted in the long history shared by the band and this venue. "We've been friends with these guys forever, since their At The Drive-In Days," Dorgan said. For those not up on their recent rock history, back in the eary 90's it was El Paso-based, proto-punk outfit At The Drive-In that launched the musical careers - and media notoriety - of The Mars Volta singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarists Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Paul Hinojos, along with Jim Ward and Tony Hajjar, who spun off to form the band Sparta later on. Ward is now active with a group called Sleepercar, which performs regularly in El Paso.
So when Rodriguez-Lopez wanted to shoot a club scene for his independent film project last year, he contacted Dorgan and the shoot was set up at Club 101. During that time, Rodriguez-Lopez, Hinojos and Dorgan began musing the possiblity of presenting The Mars Volta at the club; the idea inched closer to reality when an official El Paso stop was slotted for the band's fall tour.
Then last week, Dorgan got a call from Rodriguez-Lopez asking if the club offer was still open and thus the last-minute planning began. But the word was kept super secret out of respect for the performance already scheduled for the Abraham Chavez Theater. Logistically, it made sense to keep things under wraps until things were 100 percent confirmed due to the fact that these things often fall through; Dorgan cites past examples of trying to work out something like this with Nine Inch Nails, only to have the whole thing go under at the 11th hour due to various circumstances.
This time, it's a guarantee and family, friends and fans will be packing Club 101 to watch some El Paso boys do the thing that propelled them to the top of critics lists and garnered legions of followers around the world. Citing the band's management, Dorgan says the band is very excited since they haven't played a club a long time, much less one in the city where they first became musicians. "I'm excited, too," Dorgan continues. "This could be a signature show for this venue and even though they played last night, who knows what they could pull out for this show. After all, it's their hometown."
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