Rock ’n’ roll is alive and well at the Trap, a loud bar in a remarkably quiet part of town. Located at the intersection of Pecan Valley and Southcross, the Trap is off the beaten path. The Southeast Side has always intrigued me and is probably the most culturally diverse area of town. I can’t think of another part of the city that better synthesizes all of San Antonio’s demographics, and more interestingly, where white people add diversity to a neighborhood. For some reason that was in the back of my mind as we walked up to the front door. I was hoping for a puro San Anto experience, and the Trap delivered.
The Trap was pitched to me as a place where one can see super-tight cover bands playing exclusively from the 99.5 KISS classic-rock canon. To me that implied source material such as Metallica, Sabbath, the Cult, and possibly some Foghat. A band called Diesel was playing when we arrived, and they were exactly what had been promised.
While various members of the band took turns performing drum solos for the crowd, a mural behind them proclaimed the Trap’s 25-year anniversary. I can’t stress this point enough: The Trap is like an unopened time capsule or virgin grassland. It’s pure and untouched. No other bar I’ve been to in town is more quintessentially San Antonio.
Though Diesel wasn’t particularly original, they embodied the best parts of SA musicianship — incredible chops, a lack of pretension, and an adherence to local music tradition, like an informal guild system in which paying homage to the masters is still a respected practice.
Will San Antonio ever reclaim the Heavy Metal Capital of the World honor? It’s a legitimate question, though I’m sure there’s a Norse hamlet that now boasts that distinction. After going to the Trap, I have faith that SA’s rock foundation is on stable ground, and if there is a next generation to take us back to that sacred past, then San Antonio will be up to the challenge.
Oh yeah, the bar. The drinks were modestly priced. We kept the Jack and Cokes flowing while the band ripped through Tool covers. There wasn’t a cover charge, the atmosphere was friendly, and there are pool tables for those inclined.
If you’re interested in seeing a perfect crystallization of San Antonio rock culture, I’d call the bar ahead of time to make sure a cover band is playing.