Club Red Rocks On at Its New Home in Mesa Despite Opening Night Woes
It's safe to say that the new Club Red in Mesa has been a work in progress during its first three weeks. And booking manager Mattx Bentley is the first to agree, right before rattling off a list of things, mostly of a cosmetic nature, that the venue's staff is "working tirelessly" to handle.
Benjamin Leatherman The front door of Club Red's new location in Mesa.
"We've been making things how they should be, how we want them to be," he says. "We know what's missing, we have a whole list of things we have to do and it's not going to take long to do 'em. All the fun stuff like trimming out the decorating or building a dedicated smoking patio, stuff like that."
There's also outdoor signage to install, façades to add to its bars, extra seating to arrange, and some small paint touchups to make. But for all these aesthetic improvements it may be lacking, Club Red is still a fully functional music venue.Since opening in late May, its new Mesa strip mall location (formerly a movie theatre in the '80s and a church in the '90s) has hosted close to two-dozen bands, boasts a powerful sound system, ample staging in its spacious, 600-person main theatre.
It also features high ceilings and a two-level tiered setup with a raised seating level overlooking a large pit area for audiences to either watch or even mosh along while bands play. Plus, there are acres of parking outside for both patrons and tour buses.
And come this weekend, Club Red owner Kim Commons says its second theatre (which features room for crowds of 100) will be ready for use, and -- most importantly -- the air conditioning system will be running peak efficiency throughout the venue.
Benjamin Leatherman A view of the stage inside Club Red's main theatre.
As you may have heard, Club Red's formerly under-performing A/C was one of a few thorny issues that unexpectedly cropped up during its grand opening on May 31, which was headlined by local punk legends Authority Zero. Commons says they overestimated the cooling output of their unit, which reportedly resulted in an extremely sweaty scene during the sold out show in the main room.
"What happened was we bought what we thought what was enough AC to keep things cool. It certainly was the case the Tuesday before opening," Commons says. "But 600 sweaty punk rockers later we learned otherwise."
If that wasn't frustrating enough for Club Red's proprietors and patrons, a pipe broke underneath its recently laid concrete floor in the main room, creating a large puddle and forcing the bathrooms to be closed for upwards of 90 minutes.
Benjamin Leatherman Deathcore band Aegaeon performs at the new Club Red in Mesa earlier this month.
Bentley says the Club Red staff tried to resolve the problems immediately and blames the plumbing woes on the fact that the property was dormant for more than a decade.
"I was expecting a curve ball of some kind because you never know with these old buildings. We were very frustrated that night with it being as hot as it was and with the problems with the plumbing happening. But the second we realized there were problems, we were on it," he says. "The bathroom problem was fixed in an hour. It was the city's plumbing that was clogged. We went through the whole system and found out its been backed up for decades."