A new Tijuana music venue called Voodoo House opened three months ago. It is booked by Mario Velasco, a longtime Ensenada promoter who moved up to Tijuana to run the Voodoo House with partner Pedro Galas Hernandez Garcia, a Tijuana attorney. So far the Voodoo House has hosted hardcore American bands Life or Death and Strangulation and Mexican bands Konorteno (ska/cumbia) and Golden Gloves (hardcore), among others.
Although Velasco says his Voodoo House would probably not draw the same caliber of acts that Iguana's could have drawn (Iguana's, which existed from 1989 to '93, was a well-known Tijuana club that held 1000 and was open to all ages) because Voodoo House only holds 400.
According to Velasco, Tijuana "could do a lot better" as a concert destination point. I pointed out that the new owners of El Foro, located at the remodeled Jai Alai Palace, also brought up Iguana's when they opened in 2003. El Foro has not clicked with American promoters, agents, or artists.
"The owners [of El Foro] have money, but they are not into the music," said Velasco.
Velasco said the Voodoo House has since hosted ten live shows, which drew crowds from 50 to 200. He said admission has been $2 to $10.
Velasco said he traded Ensenada for Tijuana for two reasons. "In Ensenada there are too many people into drugs. They [fans who attend live music shows] are into ice and crack more than they are into the gig."
He suggests the newly installed PRI political regime in Tijuana is more pro-music than those in PAN-controlled Ensenada.
"Now it's back to the PRI in Tijuana. They don't care about live shows. In Ensenada, they want a profit for everything. You have to pay for permits, and then they want 20 percent of the door. In July I brought in a metal band from Miami called Dark Faith [to play Ensenada]. We had permits and everything. On the day of the show they canceled us, even though we weren't serving alcohol. I left Ensenada."
"I would like to bring in Sepultura this summer. That was the last band I saw at Iguana's. We can put another 1000 people in our patio."
Velasco said his website is under construction, but he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anarchus and Cacofonia (from Mexico City) appear tomorrow, Friday, January 7, with Intestinal Strangulation from L.A.; 9 p.m., $8 admission, all ages.