When Mofro took that stage it was hardly a packed house. There were about 30 hard-core jam band hippies on hand for the occasion. No pot, but plenty of vibes. As per usual, Mofro tapped into that Jacksonville pipeline and made what was a rather benign event something special. They autographed the wall afterwards and said they would come back again if ever there was a chance.

That was August 2004 and it was the first ever show at The Loft at Uncle Sam’s in Lauderhill. What followed was hardly CBGB-esque, but it was a tribute to live music in an age where support for original music is hard to come by in South Florida.

Last week, the fire marshal ended an era. The Loft is now forever gone.

During its three-year history, The Loft hosted many national acts. Included in this list were Rilo Kiley, Marc Broussard, Copeland, Mix Master Mike, The Early November, Emery, Mofro and Amberlin to name a few. I couldn’t even begin to name the local bands, All I can offer is the massive autograph wall as evidence as to the impact this little venue has had on what there is of a South Florida music scene.

For me, it’s kinda sad. I was involved from the beginning with The Loft. I donated my sound gear, as did Gordon. Cassy got somefriends to do the construction of the stage and lighting. Kyle promoted the shows and ran the deal for a while, and Ariel did the booking. It was truly a mission of passion that we all invested ourselves in.

As time passed and the economics of local original music gripped The Loft, it grew less and less intimate and more boisterous. Little acoustic sets gave way to massive punk shows that made the floor flex. I remember many a time where I feared that we would end up on CNN for all the wrong reasons. Defiance Ohio comes to mind. Man, I thought for sure that Gods damned floor was gonna break and deliver the band and audience into the used “E” section down below. Thankfully, we never had that kind of experience.

I could go on with a slew of memories, but I’ll reserve my favorites for when I was personally involved with the performance. I played with Evan Altshuler, imadethismistake, and with my friends in the Dogfish Improvisational Society. There were many great musical and personal memories in the little loft: Evan’s crazy reading of “Perry Poops”. Kyle screaming out over the top of an uncooperative PA. A great rendition of some Springsteen song by Shawn Snyder I never heard of (played the tambourine part with my heel while simultaneously playing piano). Big Tall’s grand entrance complete with Didgeridoo. Fantastic shit, all of it.

What we are left with are these little factoids. With them, we close the chapter that was the Loft at Uncle Sam’s:

  • First National Act: Mofro
  • First Local Act: eL
  • Biggest crowd: 140 for The Early November
  • Smallest Crowd: Well… do girlfriends count?
  • Craziest Show: Defiance Ohio
  • Best Show with No PA: Emery
  • Weirdest Show: Seksu Roba. Imagine costumes and the theramin as a lead instrument.
  • Best Thing Left Behind: Killer $250 pair of shades courtesy of the little snobby Rilo Kiley guitarist. (Wore them for like two years.)
  • Casualties: 3 microphones, 2 mic stands, 2 massive P.A. speakers, several cables and one guitar stand.

Well, that’s it for the Loft. Guess the DIS crew will have to crash Eric’s house from now on (Thanks for offering, Arch!).   Good luck to all the bands and thanks to everyone who made this experience worthwhile.