The soundboard at Limelight. Photo by Joan Vinson.

Limelight is back in action. Aesthetically, things didn’t change much. The rectangular building still dons its neon green sign and the interior looks the same, aside from a few new light fixtures and a slightly lowered stage. But on the production side of things, the venue has completely changed its ways. Like a carnivore going vegan – a complete 180.

New director Deric Wynne, who operates the 502 Bar, threw a grand re-opening celebration Thursday night at 2718 N. St. Mary’s St. Wynne said he focused on Limelight’s production quality because San Antonio lacks a club scene that caters to musicians.

“(San Antonio) is one of the two worst music markets in the entire country. It’s us and Atlanta,” he said. “It certainly doesn’t help that we live as close to Austin as we do.”

Joseph Devine, one of Limelight’s sound engineers, said bands spend tens of thousands of dollars on musical equipment and San Antonio doesn’t have many spaces that cater to a band’s sound.

“Austin has tons of awesome small clubs where they have amazing sound systems and that is just something that we lack in San Antonio,” he said. “We are just here to help out … trying to give back to the music community and make it that much better.”

Limelight emulates some of the smaller, and slightly grungier music venues in Austin, like Holy Mountain and Red 7 in Austin’s Red River area or Hotel Vegas on East Sixth Street.

Johnny Long cheers his beer to a fan. Photo by Joan Vinson.
Johnny Long cheers his beer to a fan. Photo by Joan Vinson.

Wynne said for a city to have a prolific music scene, it must have influential radio stations.

“San Antonio does not have a radio station to support anything even quasi indie,” he said.

But things are beginning to look up for San Antonio, Wynne said, starting with the opening of Paper Tiger, which sits right up the road from Limelight on North St. Mary’s Street. Paper Tiger took over the building the former White Rabbit occupied.

“I’m so glad that Paper Tiger is up the street. The White Rabbit was just kind of wasting away, for lack of a better word,” he said. “These things are just like a plant, you have to care for them and cultivate them all of the time. And that’s booking talent, maintaining the sound system, and having a competent staff.”

Limelight packed a hefty crowd Thursday night. Some sat at the picnic tables outside at the front of the building, others bought drinks from the bar, and most surrounded the stage where Lonely Horse and DJ Proper Yarn played music on a sound system that did them justice.

*Featured/top image: Limelight reopened its doors on Thursday night. Photo by Joan Vinson. 

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Joan Vinson

Former Rivard Report Assistant Editor Joan Vinson is a San Antonio native who graduated from The University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She's a yoga fanatic and an adventurer at heart....