Lucero's Ben Nichols growled his way through an hour-and-a-half set for a packed house at Dada last night (Gloria R. Levario)
Ben Tapia, the new co-owner at Club Dada, caught a little flak in our comments section when, in the piece I wrote about him trying to revamp the club's image, he said, "You know that old saying, 'If you build it, they will come?' Well, I'm building it."
But I sure as hell didn't expect what I saw last night at Dada...
Shit was crazy. Place was packed: so much so you could barely move on the side of the bar in front of the stage; so much so that the garage door in the back had to be opened to accommodate the number of people in there; so much so that pretty much everyone was sweating through their shirts.
No disrespect to Lucero--hell, I like Lucero's gritty-voiced alt-country sound--but I don't think anyone would've imagined
Frontman Ben Nichols sure didn't; I talked to him a bit at the bar after the show. He was blown away by the crowd and hardly expected such a big one on Monday. By the time he'd reached the bar, after an hour-and-a-half long set that even included an encore, he was practically falling over himself, he was so spent.
But what he didn't understand--and, hell, why would he?--was how crazy this was for Deep Ellum. 400 people in a Deep Ellum club just doesn't happen these days. And almost certainly not on a weeknight--a Monday, no less.
I spent probably 95 percent of my night there shaking my head in disbelief. It was unbelievable--reminiscent, I imagine of Ellum in the '90s. Sure was close, at least, agreed longtime Deep Ellum business owner Frank Campagna, who was also in attendance.
It was a big step in the right direction for Dada and Deep Ellum last night. And a huge slap in the face of the people who've been championing the fact that Deep Ellum can't survive as a destination hangout anymore. Proof was in the pudding. --Pete Freedman