NO MAN’S LAND – (April 2009)

This was a story about a cool place that was long overdue and yet was ahead of its time. No one ever read the story except for the 3 guys in the story. Dallas loved the comparison to CBGB.

NO MAN’S LAND- Uncharted Territory

By: A. Lawless

No Man’s Land sounds like a desolate place on a map whose name brings fair warning to anyone who dares venture there. For music fans the warning need not be heeded. If you are looking for El Paso’s newest all ages music venue then No Man’s Land is where you want to go.

Andy Segura, 20, bassist for the band Wake Up In A Panic had played a few shows in Anthony, New Mexico at a place called The Main Street Project. In December of 2008, Andy’s brother, Alex Segura, 25 and long time friend, Ian “Dallas” Bonilla, 25, went to watch Andy’s band play, in what would be the very last show held, at the Main Street Project. Attending this concert would leave a lasting impression on the three, which would be the catalyst for them to create their own music venue with the feel and atmosphere of what they had experienced that night. They put together their money and a month and half later the very first show at No Man’s Land was held.

” We were bummed out because Main Street Project was closing and the scene was starting to get big and take off. Main Street was just this little hole in the wall but it was a great place and we didn’t want to let the scene that was starting to catch on fire just die out. So we took the idea of starting our own place and we just ran with it,” Bonilla recalled.

No Man’s Land is the very definition of the term “a hole in the wall” but what it lacks in size, it makes up in character and atmosphere. They took the initial idea of what the Main Street Project was to them and incorporated their own philosophy of what a music venue should be. The three converted a car repair garage at 9580 North Loop into a unique and surprising place where bands could showcase their music to an all ages crowd. They painted the walls black and red and built a stage the length of the garage. They bought lights and a PA system. Alex discussed what No Man’s Land is. “No Man’s Land is a music venue. We’re a place where bands can play their music on a stage, not on a floor, but a stage and through a good PA system along with lights. The way we looked at it was that the bands should be able to have the stage, the lights, the PA in order to be seen and heard and for the audience to be able to see the band and hear the band. If you are going to pay to see a band you want to be able to hear the band and see the band. No one wants to pay for a concert and then have the music come through an awful PA. We took the approach that we wanted to make sure it was an all ages venue because we felt that anyone under 21 or under 18 still wanted to see a concert. Just because they were not old enough to drink shouldn’t exclude them from seeing a concert. Bars bring in bands just to get a crowd to buy their beer. We are opposite of that. We are a music venue that showcases bands. The bands bring in the people that want to see and hear the music.”

No Man’s Land is constantly having shows all month long. Their calendar is filled up with different shows 3 or 4 nights a week. Each show consists of 4 or 5 different bands for each show. Andy is a promotions machine handling their myspace page, which in its first few months registered several thousand friends. Constant emailing and making Internet contacts keeps the venue bringing in new bands. Some shows are booked by promoters and for other shows No Man’s Land will do the booking themselves. Bonilla explains, “We will do a ticket show and a ticket show is where we book 5 bands and every band buys $80.00 worth of tickets for $40 bucks. They take the tickets and sell them. They have to go out and promote themselves. So they end up bringing at least 20 people to the show and if each band sells their tickets then you get a show with at least a 100 people. They do their part and we do ours by providing them the venue and the PA, the stage and the lights. We also promote the show through fliers and our myspace.” It’s a win – win situation for the venue and the bands.

No Man’s Land is not a genre specific music venue. They have had all types of music played at their venue. They will have a big show coming up on June 9 th when the reggae band the Super Villains stops by on the end of their tour. If they haven’t already requested you on myspace then drop by their page or stop by the venue when they are having one of their shows. For anyone under 21 it will be a new hang out to see and hear local bands. For local bands it is an awesome place to give you the opportunity to showcase your music and be heard. For those true music lovers in El Paso who want to check out some new young bands, stop by No Man’s Land, it’s El Paso’s version of CBGB.


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