Mantooth Group Re-Opening Nile Theatre Basement as The Underground

The hardcore punks of Resort to Distort perform at the Nile Theatre back in the 2002.

Earlier this month, it was Long Wong's. Last week, I wrote about how the old Boston's was being reincarnated into 910 Live. And just today I got news that the property in downtown Mesa that formerly housed the Nile Theatre will become a brand new live music destination in February.

I guess January must be the month for old and busted Valley music joints to get a new lease on life. (Anyone wanna re-open Mad Gardens?)

The punks and peeps behind indie concert promotions company Mantooth Group are busy transforming the basement of the Nile into The Underground, which is scheduled to host its first show on February 19.

From 1994 until it closed in 2002, the Nile was one of the 'Nix's more legendary concert halls. If you've lived here longer than a decade (which sometimes is a rarity in this burg), then in all likelihood you attended a show at the venue and have many colorful stories to tell.

A "who's who" of both local and national bands played at the theatre's upstairs and downstairs rooms during that stretch, including Blink 182, Circle Jerks, Swinging Utters, and countless others. Personally, I saw such bands as Motorhead, The Vandals, and the Mr. T Experience at the Nile back in the '90s and still have the ringing in my ears to prove it.

The Mantoothers (who will also help Rodney Hu manage his upcoming all-ages club 23 West) were also big fans of the venue, which is why it's kinda cool that they're helping the place live on with The Underground.

I spoke with spokesperson Michelle Donovan this afternoon, who gave me the lowdown on the place.

"We all grew up in that venue, so it's kind of a dream to do something with the building," she says. "We just hope to do the old Nile Justice when we open up."

The Underground will have a capacity of around 250-300 people and Donovan says they're planning to host a variety of punk, hardcore, and rock acts. A special "open house" will be held on February 12 and feature both live music and screening of old shows from Nile's heyday. Local pop punk band This Century will be the first "official" show on February 19.

So Mesa's sleepy downtown will once again ring with the three-chord thunder of punk. Wonder what the neighbors will think?

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.