Mourning Mohawk

Saying goodbye to a piece of the Buffalo music scene

On December 4, 2012


The time I bought my first legal alcoholic drink, the time I interviewed Attila in their tour bus and the night I met my first boyfriend - all of these memories will forever be attached to Mohawk Place.

For 22 years, fans - including myself - stood at the corner of Ellicott Street and East Mohawk Street, waiting for the wooden door with faded band stickers to open. Behind this door, we saw Fall Out Boy play one of their first shows. Every December, we watched local metal band Every Time I Die host its annual Christmas concert. And when Cute Is What We Aim For made a comeback this past September, we bought every last ticket.

Unfortunately, Mohawk Place will be closingafter Jan. 12, 2013,much to my dismay and the dismay of many others.

I remember the first time I went to a show at Mohawk. It was in March of last year, and one of my favorite hardcore bands, Attila, had announced they would be playing there. I knew I'd attend the show, but the opportunity as a journalist to interview the band for The Spectrum was mind-blowing.

The atmosphere of Mohawk Place immensely contributed to my article. The way the fans could touch the stage with ease, the way that the music surrounded you, how fans could see their favorite artists even from the bar - Mohawk was an experience.

After that show, Mohawk was my favorite place to see live music, hands down. I had never been to a venue where you were so close and personal with a band, and I could no longer look at other places like Town Ballroom the same.

My time at Mohawk Place secured my dream of wanting to become a music journalist.

Every time I attended shows at Mohawk Place, I experienced a feeling of music-induced elation.

When Mohawk announced it was closing, my heart sank. The history within that venue is important to the Buffalo music scene, and as the time grows closer to its closing, I hope to relay that history through journalism.

My friends in various local bands were also heartbroken, as some had opened for national acts at Mohawk.

Brent Martone, bassist of pop-punk band Canoe, had played with his band as an opening act for Cute Is What We Aim For. Like me, he developed a connection with the venue.

"At every show I attended or played, I walked away that night with a whole group of new friends and memories," Martone said. "Mohawk will forever have a place in my heart as the first place that I fell in love with live music - why my band exists and the person I am today."  

Jeffrey Fisher, keyboardist of Don't Be A Hero, has also played at Mohawk and can vouch on how the mosh pits get crazy with how small the room is - something I love as well.

Everyone at these shows thrashes around and, while it is in good fun, being careful would be smart. I've been punched in the ribs on accident a few times by drunk guys twice my size. Yet, while I can hold my own, some concertgoers are not as lucky. This potential dangeris why Mohawk Place had a strict no crowd surfing policy that was posted around the venue.

Rumors are circulating the reason Mohawk is closing is due to an injury - not the decline of the local music scene. Regardless of the reason, every audience member needs to be considerate of one another. If there's a frail looking girl standing at the edge of a circle pit, don't just trample her. Let her and others nearby know what is starting.

Believe me - my first circle pit was not by choice.

While the closing of Mohawk Place is saddening and a huge loss to our music scene, the memories will always be there. I'm forever bonded to the friends I've made at these shows - especially the ones at Mohawk.

Mohawk Place is now part of who I am.



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