While local venues known for live bands are closing down, more bars and restaurants in downtown San Marcos are trying to keep the musical traditions alive and offer musicians a chance to perform.
The latest diner to continue the trend is Valentino’s Pizza, which has been recruiting bands of various genres to perform in their restaurant since last November.
Sean Dunlap, booking manager, said some local musicians have used Valentino’s to showcase their musical talent with San Marcos. A few repeat musical guests include Trust Issues, Rusty Dusty, Half Ways, Shaws of Awe and thehouse band 36” Wheels.
“This was something I wanted to do for a long time,” Dunlap said. “I really wanted to get the ball rolling with booking bands.”
With another restaurant providing live entertainment for their customers, more up-and-coming bands have a chance to get their names recognized or even perform for the first time.
Bells in Wires, a jazz-influenced group from Texas State, were the opening band on Friday night and played jazzy tunes for an hour.
Peyton Grover, music studies sophomore, said he and his friends heard about Valentino’s showcases of live-music and formed their group to perform jazz for the restaurant.
“It was my first time performing in front of public,” Grover said. “It was really fun to influence new listeners.”
Dunlap said he also wants to start a series of open nights for stand-up comedy and poetry reading. He said their first open night will be held Feb. 29.
Daniel Moreland, general manager, said he and Dunlap have wanted to start a lineup of bands for quite some time. Both of them had been too busy to get it rolling, but now it is finally happening.
“We all collectively had the same idea to bring bands to play here,” Moreland said. “(The idea) started a long time ago.”
Dunlap wants Valentino’s to be known as a venue for having rock ’n’ roll, jazz and all types of funk-inspired bands. Since the Vault is known for pop music and Cheatham Street Warehouse is recognized for their country performers, Valentino’s would ideally offer more options of music to enjoy.
“We try to cater to what doesn’t get noticed in this town,” Dunlap said.
With Triple Crown closed for the time being, other venues are hoping to keep live music playing in downtown. Moreland said they see themselves as carrying the tradition Triple Crown and other bars were trying to keep.
“It seemed like a perfect opportunity to keep (music) going here in San Marcos,” Moreland said.
Grover said Texas State has great music produced by young talent, and that downtown is a great place to showcase new tunes.
“I like to play to people who don’t know much about jazz,” Grover said. “It is a great way to keep the music alive.”
Dunlap said they have a lineup of bands booked all the way until April. There are going to be bands from many places outside of San Marcos, including a couple of groups from Brooklyn.
“We’re trying to keep San Marcos bands alive,” Dunlap said. “It’s a good starting platform for new bands to play on.”
Valentino’s has bands playing on Wednesdays and Thursdays starting at 7 p.m., and jazz sessions on Fridays starting at 8 p.m.