In the spot of the former Luscher’s Red Hots at the corner of Commerce and Pryor streets, next to Dot's Hop House & Cocktail Courtyard, Ruins celebrated its grand opening Wednesday night with all the style and sophistication we’ve come to expect from the team of Dan Murry and Peter Novotny.
This duo is known for giving us Armoury D.E., named Dallas Observer’s best live music venue of 2017 thanks in large part to the work of Jeff Brown of King Camel Productions, whose Locked & Loaded concert series has made the venue a hot spot to catch the freshest talent in Dallas.
It’s difficult not to compare Ruins to the Armoury. Like the Armoury, Ruins is a place for music lovers to enjoy the food, drinks and live music. Unlike the Armoury, Ruins offers all of those things with a heavy serving of Latin influence.
Novotny says the owners took Armoury's sound into account when creating Ruins.
"But mostly our aim was to amp up the production at Ruins to another level," he says. "The equipment we brought in for that size of a room is pretty exciting. [Wednesday] night was the first time we got to fire everything up, and we will be fine-tuning everything this week."
Ruins sound engineer Christopher Kent Cotter says local experts will lead the fine-tuning.
"I'm bringing in the production manager of Granada Theater [Heath Gage] — one of the best system techs I've ever worked with — and Austin Smith, a professional system tuner and one of the best sound engineers in Texas," he says.
From the huge list of rum-filled cocktails to the Oaxacan-inspired menu to the Latin folk artwork that lines the walls of the bar-restaurant-music venue, Ruins delights all of the senses — and to the music lovers who have come to expect a lot from the Armoury, that especially means what you can hear.
While the Armoury has had a long history developing its sound system to fit the quality of acts that come through such a small space, Ruins opened with its best foot firmly marching forward.
Really, the first thing that hits you about Ruins after the Central American aesthetics is the fact that it is a lot bigger on the inside than the front of the building leads you to believe. With a large outdoor patio, two gigantic dining areas, two fully stocked bars and a huge performance space, Ruins shows that the Armoury’s owners were always listening and wanted to get it right from the jump.
Musicians wary of playing the Armoury because of its lack of monitors will be happy to know that Ruins is stocked. Music fans who appreciate the craftsmanship sound engineers like Cotter and Chris Galt brought the Armoury sound will be happy to hear that their talents have been put to work once again.
Fans will also appreciate the indoor space, considering shows at the Armoury sometimes get rained out. And being able to stand on solid concrete instead of loose gravel is also a welcome difference.
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How about the lineup of talent? That, too, is looking to be an extension of the Armoury’s well-respected legacy. The venue will host its first proper show May 25 with Armoury favorites Sub-Sahara, Mountain of Smoke and Aztec Death. The next night, King Camel will present Sci Fi Music Fest, which features five Dallas supergroups performing sets inspired by science fiction films.
Dallas’ Barf Wave Records will host The Phlegms’ EP release show June 1, which will also include sets from Whep and surf punkers the Loafers.
To kick off the grand opening celebration, however, Mayta performed two sets of bilingual, Latin American-infused rock, blues and cumbia with DJ Big J spinning between and after the sets.
From the looks of the first night and the small preview of what is to come, Ruins is set to be Deep Ellum’s next great tiny music venue just in time for summer.