About this time, five years ago, September 18, 2011 to be exact, a group of people opened the doors to their first concert at Tricky Falls. The venue is owned by five owners, Jim Ward, Kristine Ward, Bobbie Welch, Luis R. Mota, and Gabriel Gonzalez, with whom we spoke with about Tricky Falls turning five this year.
Jim Ward, (known for being a founding member of At the Drive-In, Sparta, and Sleepercar) and the rest of the ownership isn’t alone in having an eye for curating a diverse rotation of entertainment through the venue. Gabriel Gonzalez, co-owner, production manager and musician himself feels there is a special place for the kind of talent Tricky Falls has been attracting for the last five years.
Gabriel remembers where he was at just before things sparked for opening this venue, “I was living in Austin just before moving down here to El Paso around 2008, and Jim [Ward] and I had been talking for years about opening up a venue or a studio. Initially, we ended up opening a studio on Texas Street, so we were there for a few years, and then this building opened up.”
The Tricky Falls venue located on 209 S. El Paso St., was originally called the Alhambra Theatre, then later the Palace. Designed by Henry C. Trost, the building opened its doors in 1914.
“We once played here as Sparta, years and years ago, and we always loved it because it was in the center of downtown, El Paso,” recalled Gabriel.
“At the time, it was kind of a risk. If you recall, there wasn’t a whole lot going on around here back then, and the City hadn’t put street lights out there yet, so it was pretty menacing,” said Gabriel.
Gabriel told us that booking agents, Bobbie Welch, and Luis R. Mota (native El Pasoans), joined in the conversation about opening the venue, which would soon lead to the group, “going for it.”
The motivation to open a new venue for the group was firmly rooted in changing El Paso from a “sleep-destination” to someplace acts came to play. “For touring bands, they’d sleep here either on the way to Austin, or on the way to Albuquerque. We were the place where they’d gas-up, go to the movies, go to the mall, and take a day off but instead we wanted people to stay here and play,” said Gabriel.
“Other than underground punk shows happening at the time, we were thinking about a venue in that market for every audience. We’ve had anyone from Black Flag, and Sepultura, to Snoop Dogg play here – even the jugglers from the jugglers convention recently, so you can’t get any more different than that,” Gabriel told us.
There is a deliberate focus on bringing in entertainment in the medium market, according to Gabriel, “Whether it’s the guys on their way up or coming back, there’s always a need for a venue this size.”
The intimacy of the venue, in addition to the complimentary businesses on the street corner has added to the energy of the area. Businesses such as Golden Goose Tattoo and even Dave’s Pawn Shop make this patch of El Paso and San Antonio Street a kinetic hub for those seeking a come one, come all vibe.
Don’t miss the 5 Year Anniversary Kick Off Party on, August, 19 and 20! Tickets can be purchased on their site //www.trickyfalls.com/