"Kids are starved for a live-music scene in North County," says Chris Austin. He'll book bands to play the Inferno, a two-story, all-age music venue in Escondido that has been known by various names during its three decades as a nightclub. Though the club has relied on DJs for music during the past 15 years, in the late '70s the locale, as Distillery East, hosted new-wave bands such as the Romantics, Missing Persons, the Plimsouls, the Busboys, and a Flock of Seagulls.
The Inferno has a legal capacity of 486, similar to Mira Mesa's Epicentre, which regularly hosts national acts for under-age audiences. Austin says he will present three to four bands every Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Austin, 39, has booked bands at Takilyaz Cantina (an Oceanside bar), Joltin' Joe's (an Escondido pool hall), the Chopping Block (a Vista bar and café), the Vista Entertainment Center, Pounder's bar in Escondido, and the Longshoot Saloon in San Marcos. He owned and operated the Library coffeehouse in downtown Escondido in 1998 and 1999.
Regarding the fact that bar/venues such as the Jumping Turtle in San Marcos host under-age audiences to see bands until 10 p.m., Austin responds: "Those venues only hold 100 to 150. Record labels don't want to send bands to small venues. If you see a band in a bar, chances are you won't remember it the next day."
On February 19, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Inferno will present Hellfire Trigger, Vietnam HC, Severe Tire Damage, Nihilist, the Hill Street Stranglers, Wanted Dead, and others TBA. Admission is $10. All ages.