UPDATE: June 1, 9 A.M.: Read the response from Proof owner Joey Mendes here.
UPDATE, MAY 24, 4:05 P.M.: Teresa Judd, Assistant City Attorney of Santa Ana, informs the Weekly after checking with multiple departments that, "The city does not have a policy of citing businesses for accepting alternative forms of identification"--contrary to what Santoros members say Proof owner Joey Mendes told them. A request for comment from Mendes has yet to be returned.
ORIGINAL ITEM, MAY 24, 7:45 A.M.: Santoros, an Echo Park-based psychedelic folk band, was all set to hit the stage for a Sunday night show at Downtown SanTana's Proof Bar on May 15th before ultimately packing up and heading home early. The free show featuring Them Howling Bones and Moondog Orchestra as opening acts dissolved after a dispute between Santoros' band members and Proof's owner.
"We just showed up there and tried to play," Santoros rhythm guitarist Tony Jimenez recounts. "When we got to the security guy, he asked for identification," the musician adds. "We showed them the IDs that we had and he said we weren't allowed to be inside of the bar until it was time for us to play."
Two of the band members had presented a Consular Mexican ID and National Mexican ID respectively. Several major banks have for years accepted Matrícula Consular cards as valid forms of identification for opening up accounts, but they apparently aren't good enough "proof" for Proof Bar's security guard, nor its owner Joey Mendes. This is nothing new as friends of mine who weren't in bands, but tried to chill and get a drink at the establishment have recounted similar experiences.
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Jimenez's brother Uriel, also in the band, tried to negotiate and reason out of Santoros being treated like a group of high school aged kids playing a 21-and-over venue. "Uriel talked to the owner and he said 'That's was how it is in OC,'" the musician recalls. "He went on to claim that the city could give him a ticket if he allowed people with Mexican IDs into the bar." For the LA-based band, this came as a surprise given their awareness of SanTana's robust and youthful Latino population.
Faced with the indignity of being kept outside of Proof Bar, Santoros decided to call it quits. Mendes warned that doing so would harm the band's relationship with its fans, but they weren't swayed. In solidarity, Them Howling Bones and Moondog Orchestra followed their lead. The band left a message on their Facebook page simply alerting fans of the cancellation. A few phone calls to local friends were also made to deliver the news.
"We've played the Echo, the Viper Room, the Conga Room, the Five Stars Bar, the Dragonfly," Jimenez says rolling off a number of venues in the greater Los Angeles area.
"We never have troubles at any of these bars," the rhythm guitarist notes. "We are always fine."