The Real Baja

Black Box: Tijuana’s number one venue for live alternative music

Bringing local, national and international bands to the Tijuana-San Diego region

Black Box: Tijuana’s number one venue for live alternative musicCourtesy Black Box Tijuana.
Courtesy Black Box Tijuana.

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One of the best things about going to a concert and enjoying live music is being close to the band and feeling the energy going back and forth between the crowd and the artists on stage and one of the best places to experience that feeling in the Tijuana-San Diego region is Black Box in Downtown Tijuana. Black Box is the go-to spot for local, national and international bands when they are in town. On this night Los Auténticos Decadentes from Argentina where playing one night after taking the stage at Vive Latino, Mexico’s equivalent to Coachella, in front of around fifty thousand people and it was a great to experience the twelve piece band in an intimate environment. Believe it or not twenty three tickets were sold in Mexico City (about a four hour plane ride) to people who wanted to see the band up close. You could see the band and the fans enjoying being close to each other. You could see ecstatic expressions and sweat dripping from everybody as they danced and sang the night away to twenty five years of rock en español hits.

VIDEO : Black Box Tijuana

Black Box is located on the second and third floors on the corner of Calle 6ta and Avenida Revolución and hosts shows around twice a week according to the owner Enrique Von Borstel. The venue is a no frills spot for enjoying live music. The main floor has a stage with three bar areas one of which was recently moved to allow better sight lines for concert goers. One of these bars is on the VIP mezannine, two of the bars are full service and one serves only beer. The main floor has a capacity of eight hundred and fifty people and has an excellent sound system which Black Box is not afraid to crank up. The third floor has a smaller stage with capacity for two hundred and fifty people and guessing by the pole in the middle of the dance floor this was either a fire station or a well hidden strip club! This area is used for after parties that continue well into the festive Tijuana nights or for smaller shows. They serve Corona, Modelo, Pacifico and Victoria beers for about $2.50 dollars and cocktails from around $3.50 to $6.00 dollars. For food after concerts you can always count on hot dog carts and taco stands on Avenida Revoulción and it’s surroundings. I don’t know why but they are always delicious around 2 AM.

Enrique prides himself on bringing great acts to Black Box from all over the world. He has been in the concert business for over twenty years and Black Box has been open for about one and a half years. I asked Enrique what had inspired him to get into the concert business and he said “a passion for music”. Throughout the years Enrique has brought bands like rock en español superstars Caifanes, Soda Estereo and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, international acts like Morrisey and world music superstar Manu Chao to different venues in Tijuana. Something that he wants to accomplish at Black Box is to turn Tijuanenses into avid concert goers so he can put on more shows. He has recently started booking more diverse shows like The Skatalites from Jamaica with the help of San Diego’s Makeda Dread and opens up his venue to local artists and promoters so that they can do their own events.

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