The Buffalo punk scene is alive and well
As Head North, a local band, took the stage at The Waiting Room to kick off their month-long East Coast tour, frontman guitarist Brent Martone motioned for the crowd to push toward the stage.
In a matter of seconds, I felt someone shove me; the enthralled occupants were pushing toward the stage.
When I turned around, all I saw were sweaty faces and bodies upon bodies. I heard the sound of loud, raging and screaming fans with no end in sight.
When Head North struck the first chord, the venue erupted with so much energy you'd think the place ran on fan enthusiasm instead of electricity.
Through all the commotion, what felt like a spiritual feeling began to take over my body. It began as a tingling on my face and rushed through my veins down to my toes.
I was feeling the punk scene of the City of Buffalo, alive and well. The scene that once seemed to have a bleak future was thriving, and I was utterly mesmerized.
Last January, when the Mohawk Place closed, the final show was a scene befitting a funeral, not a punk rock concert. Each band seemed to be performing a eulogy of the historic venue.
The Mohawk Place was a home to many types of shows, but mainly the fast-paced guitar riffs and lyrics that screamed angst - a haven for local punk rock music. The final show at the venue was representative of a scene that once had a heartbeat, a creative mind and a voice, but was now losing its pulse.
For many local bands, Mohawk was a place to earn your stripes as a premier band, a place to develop some fans and swagger.
Though none of the bands were there to seek a record deal, and you wouldn't see any record reps lurking there, it didn't matter. It was an honor to play at such a well-respected venue.
The Mohawk Place accepted all types of musicians and fans. It had its own personality.
But instead of dwelling in the past, bands like Cedar Kites, Head North, No Prevail, Figurehead, Real People, Rust Belt Lights, The Traditional and Pentimento continued to make music and serve as the driving force behind Buffalo's punk scene and bring it back to where it needs to be.
To top it all off, it seems as though The Waiting Room has earned its worth as the new place bands can come together and play music for those who embrace the scene - for those who keep putting the City of Buffalo on the map in the punk rock world.
There is still that connection of family that surrounds the genre and the pervading sentiment that you can take the punk scene venues out of Buffalo, but you will never take the punk scene out of Buffalo.
When Martone played that set Friday night, he showed not only how powerful music is, but also that no matter what hard times the music scene has gone through, it still finds a way to prevail.
Mohawk's closing wasn't the end of an era. It was the start of a new one.