It’s official: Mohawk Place is really gone
blog by Ben Kirst • January 13, 2013 @ 5:17pm
Look, it’s sad that Mohawk Place is closing. I get it. I went to countless shows there—the first being a Deke Dickerson concert in 2002 (?) that I was talked into checking out by Pete Perrone himself after I visited the club to (unsuccessfully—it was sold out) buy tickets to the Eyes Adrift show that has been referenced fairly regularly over the past couple weeks. I think I was covering high school basketball for The Dunkirk Observer at Buffalo State that night, which is why I was in the city in the first place.
Anyhow, the maudlin elegies in the media over the past few weeks have kind of rubbed me the wrong way. If the scene is strong enough, a new Mohawk will emerge, right? It’s the circle of life. I have faith. It’s the nature of rock ‘n’ roll to leave at an inconvenient time. As Mohawk Place itself wrote on its Facebook page, to quote the words of Mr. Bruce Springsteen, “Well now, everything dies, baby, that’s a fact / But maybe everything that dies someday comes back.” And then, in 20 years, we can all write tragic, urgent, part-of-me-is-gone essays again.
We at Buffalo.com did not get credentialed for the two final, sold-out shows—much to the consternation of our own Kat Przybyla, who tried like hell to get a photographer into Friday and Saturday nights’ performances—so we don’t have a comprehensive photo gallery from those last days. Frustrating.
That being said, there is some Internet detritus out there. For example, it was depressing to see this in Google’s search results:
And here’s a last look at the Facebook page:
Simple, elegant and sad! Well done.
Jeff Miers of The Buffalo News weighed in with some prose that was a bit more purple:
On Friday and Saturday evenings, multi-act bills featuring many of the bands responsible for cementing the club’s legendary status acted as the club’s farewell party. Much more Irish wake than teary-eyed funeral, ‘The Last Waltz’ was sold out on both evenings, and a decidedly giddy air eased the pain of parting. In keeping with the Mohawk Place tradition, the weekend-long party found the Buffalo music community fiddling like madmen while Rome burned. All in attendance agreed – it was only appropriate that we should die with our boots on. We owed it to the club, and to ourselves.
This is a bar, by the way, that had a sign in the window (according to Cory Perla of Artvoice, possibly Buffalo’s best music writer) that read “We are closing, f**k off!”
Mac McGuire from BuffaBLOG had a nice little obituary of his own…
Going to Mohawk Place always felt like you were making a special trip since you had to make a little extra effort to get there. It didn’t have the luxury of being on Allen Street, blessed with so much walking traffic that the show could sell itself. Mohawk Place gave you a reason to jump in your car (or bike) and not make you feel guilty from removing yourself from the action for a couple hours.
...and Steve Gordon of BuffaBLOG’s writeup of the action from Saturday was decidedly less sentimental:
So Mohawk Place dies tonight, as we all know by now. There’s been a profusion of obituaries in the local press (including this little blog) over the last few weeks. And everyone is getting sentimental, even Spicoli went a few paragraphs without being mean and sardonic. You’d think a f***ing dog died or something.
EXACTLY. I take no schadenfreude in the loss of Mohawk—I saw some phenomenal shows there, too, and know some people spent a large portion of their lives there and hate to see it go—but these people seem to have a large amount of access to local media.
One of those people is Donny Kutzbach and his article in Artvoice makes me feel like kind of a jerk for cocking an eyebrow at all of this Mohawk melancholy. Consider this beautiful quote from Mark Norris in Donny’s story:
‘When I started the band at 19 or 20 all I was really hoping for was acceptance,‘Norris says. ‘I was suffering from a major heartache, didn’t have a car, and felt really isolated. I specifically remember holding my crappy Fender guitar and looking in the mirror and thinking, ‘Someday, I’m going to go to a club where I have a bunch of friends. They’ll be happy to see me when I get there and I’ll play my music for them and they will like it.’ The Mohawk was that place that allowed that dream to happen for me. I will not forget it.’
Jesus, that is heartbreaking. As a indie music fan growing up in Dunkirk at a time when “indie” in Chautauqua County meant “new Ozzy, not old Ozzy,” I can empathize.
Our old pal Nick Mendola was even moved to poetry:
raise em for where we grew up
the kids in the back of the class
at the front of the stage
jumping and sweating and yelling
in a grimy hotel for derelict cave people
Jameson and rice water
took intemperate turns on untamed throats
warming brutal winters after hockey (yeah, the Sabres lost)
cooling Thursday foreigners (yeah, that band was rough)
same drinks, mostly
raise em for where we grew up
where we drank with mighty midshipmen, orphans and popes,
backpeddlars and the semi-tough
where we left with the one that brought you
stumbling onto the heart of Saturday night
it’s ten minutes to meltdown
for the 135 of 142
held in by the arms of the town
raise em for where we grew up
God, when did I get so old. STOP ME, I AM GETTING SENTIMENTAL.
After some searching, there is some video from the final nights on YouTube. Here’s something from The Old Sweethearts:
And here are The Chosen Ones:
And thus ends an era.
So goodbye, Mohawk Place. I will miss looking at all those framed photos of rockabilly dudes with pompadours and the bent-knee, wide-eyed pose straight from a Memphis p.r. office in 1958. I will not miss the fact that you refused to take credit cards or that you smelled like farts in the winter.
You will live on in spirit, if not in the Artvoice calendar. Fare thee well!
Photo from Facebook.