When I first moved to San Marcos for college, long gone were the glory days of Nephew’s and a place called Cheatham Street Warehouse had yet to be re-opened. The hottest music venue in town was a converted movie theater named Gordo’s.
All the biggest acts of the day played there. Pat, Cory, Jack, Charlie…you name it.
Soon, it became the place to be on Thursday nights no matter who was playing there…be it Warrant or Vanilla Ice or Creager or Blue October.
The room didn’t have the best music vibe and due to the conversion from a movie theater, walking down the long stairs to the main floor in front of the stage presented its own, special challenges. At a Jason Boland/Stoney LaRue show in 2003 I managed to come crashing down the stairs with a handful of beers and a grace usually only found in Chris Farley’s finest work.
Yet, there was something special about it. It didn’t have the historic, hallowed feeling of Cheatham…nor did it have the rowdy history of Nephew’s…but it had something.
It was larger than both of those venues, had better A/C for those hot summer nights and just about anyone you wanted to see stopped there between Austin and New Braunfels or San Antonio.
So, it was with sadness that I watched from afar as it dwindled into an irrelevant dive bar that rarely hosted live music and fell into the abyss of cool venues that lost their way.
Well, like a phoenix it has risen from the proverbial ashes of irrelevance to become the newly minted Texas Music Theater. $2.3 million dollars have turned the old Holiday Theater and Gordo’s Grill into a world-class music venue featuring state of the art lighting and sound. The capacity will be near 1,000 and they plan on booking only the top acts around…either regional or national on occasion!
Any time our scene of music gets a cool venue is a good thing. When it comes to San Marcos, Cheatham Street will always be the hallowed institution of songwriting and a beacon of originality in a sea of cookie-cutter strip mall chain venues…but having a place called the Texas Music Theater in your backyard sure is cool.
It opens on March 9 and and will host the LoneStarMusic Awards on March 27.