For the first time since the night in early December when former Marine Nathan Gale leapt onstage at the Alrosa Villa and opened fire — killing Damageplan/ Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and three others — the Columbus, Ohio, club will reopen its doors.
The owner of the Alrosa, Rick Cautela, has scheduled a benefit concert for January 14 to raise funds for the families of the victims. But the show might also serve as a last hurrah for the club, which had been a staple in the Columbus music scene for more than 30 years.
"We know it's not right to open the Alrosa without having a benefit first," Cautela said in a statement that aired on Columbus radio station WBZX. "I'm not sure what's going to happen for the future ... one minute I think the Alrosa has a future, the next minute I don't feel comfortable about it. I'm just not OK with opening back up."
Only the front bar of the club has been open since the shootings on December 8 (see "Dimebag Darrell, Four Others Killed In Ohio Concert Shooting"), and that was only to give out ticket refunds for concerts canceled in the wake of the tragedy.
"Right now I'm concentrating on shows that were booked previously and trying to make sure everybody gets refunds from the Damageplan show, [and] from other concerts that were booked through the month of December," Cautela said. "I have a lot of employees that I'm thinking about right now. ...They don't have a paycheck coming. They would like for me to open, to do benefits, to have other kinds of shows there. They don't want to quit, they love working there, and they've been there for me."
The benefit show at the Alrosa — which will feature West Virginia band Bobaflex and local act Odious — isn't the only benefit planned for the Columbus area. On Friday at the Newport Music Hall, WBZX will present "Rock to Remember," a show featuring a host of local bands and an auction of memorabilia to benefit the families of the victims.
"I want to thank the other clubs that are having benefits for the victims," Cautela said. "It's not a time for competition, it's a time for love."
Click here for more on the tragic death of Dimebag Darrell and the Ohio club shooting.