8pm Thu, July 7
The Mix & Limelight
$5, 21+ except White Rabbit: $8 for minors
8pm Fri, July 8
Salute, Limelight, & The White Rabbit
8pm Sat, July 9
Both Drunken Monkey Promotions and Monkeyfest were conceived like most big ideas: in a bar with a pound (or probably a liter) of courage. Back in 2006, future DMP owner Anthony Trinidad was sitting with colleagues from the San Antonio College Radio, Television, and Film program at The Mix on North St. Mary’s. He was spouting off. “I was saying, ‘I’m gonna’ throw this big event. I’m going to get this scene together,’” Trinidad told the Current, Lone Star in hand, during a group interview in his home. “I was like, ‘There’s no reason. ... Something’s going to happen here. I’m not saying it has to be me, but it needs to be somebody.”
Like most ambitions fortified by spirits, the details weren’t as hashed out as the intentions of the day, but that didn’t stop Trinidad from shuffling up the road to the recently opened Limelight.
“I didn’t know [Limelight’s owners] Casey or Mariah at the time,” Trinidad said. “I walked in there … and asked for a show. I thought they would turn me down like, ‘No way, who the fuck are you?’ But they gave me a date.”
And like that, Trinidad booked his first show at Limelight — Muchos Backflips with opener Groove Movement — on August 19, 2006. Only about 40 people turned out, he said, but that was enough to officially start DMP in earnest, however haphazardly.
Trinidad left around 200 credit hours at SAC for a staff he described as “a dream team.” He had a promotions representative, an entertainment lawyer, a photographer, and “a guy that bagged money,” though there really wasn’t much to be kept after paying artists. Because the Benjamins weren’t pouring in, his staff shifted over the following year, eventually becoming a group of guys who all liked working day jobs, promoting local bands, and not sleeping. Drunken Monkey Promotions is currently Pete Requejo, Jeremy Pacheco, Ray Tattoedboy (artistic name for Ray Scarborough), and Scott Andreu (of Texas is Funny Records), who has worked with Trinidad since 2010 booking out-of-town bands as a partner in Patchwork Presents. Since 2010, the DMP guys have been the main promoters at Limelight booking weekend gigs, and will kick off a free hip-hop night every first Thursday starting August 4. DMP is also behind the Great 85’s showcase every last Thursday of the month and the San Antonio unplugged night, both at Limelight.
In the summer of 2007, Trinidad and co. started Monkeyfest, a multi-day local music showcase. The goal was (and remains) to use the allure of established local bands to get fans in front of promising up-and-comers. “Basically, venues are out to make money,” Requejo said. “I mean, when you’re a business owner, you have to make money. And new bands don’t bring in a lot of money at first. But if they want to get heard, they’ve got to get out there. Events like Monkeyfest bring new bands to an event that’s going to bring a lot of people regardless. They’re gonna get heard.”
Monkeyfest 2007, which included a dozen bands, including the Moriartys, Black Friday, and newcomers Sons of Sancho, was far from the fifth edition three-day, four-venue blowout that hits San Antonio this year on July 7.
Day 1 is free for those over 21, featuring Pillow Talk at the Mix (recently signed with Texas is Funny) and supergroup Crimson Clover at the Limelight (comprised of members from the Dixie Hammers, Hacienda, Mechanical Walking Robotboy, and Murdered Out). Day 2 will see Salute, the Limelight, and the White Rabbit simultaneously hosting a total of 13 bands, including the Great 85, Dance Like Robots, and Yes, Inferno. Day 3 will be a Limelight exclusive and feature some of the fest’s heaviest hitters, including Cartographers, Education, and Henry + The Invisibles.
With five years and four fests in the rearview, Trinidad is both thankful and at times indignant. “I hate it when people say that San Antonio’s music scene is weak,” he said. “When I hear that, I say to those people, ‘If you think it’s weak, it’s because you’re fucking weak. You don’t fucking come out to see these shows and support your local musicians.”
Trinidad’s tone might be off-putting, but he finds the work of DMP to be evidence that change is possible in San Antonio. For one, he takes partial credit for Limelight’s shift from Americana/blues to indie/hip-hop/alternative. But still he blames rampant apathy in the music scene for driving him to the point that he once considered dropping out entirely.
“When was that?” we asked.
“Every year,” Andreu interjected, and the five burst into laughter. •
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.