It is a proper shame to lose a venue of any sort in South Florida, particularly in Broward County. We don't exactly have a wealth of nice places to house live music, let alone one willing to handle some of the sonic baptisms and noise rituals in which many of our local favorites deal.
Native Florida Tap Room & Music Hall owner Kilmo Doome was happy to throw nearly all of the sounds our locals could produce through a professional-grade PA without question or judgement. That, you see, is the beautiful thing about a bar owner who is a musician. She or he, in this case, understands the nature of live performance, and the fact that no musician (or artist, as Kilmo would insist they are) believes their songs are best suited as background music to the drinking of beer and the schmoozing of patrons.
Friday night was the Last Schmaltz -- an evening of loud music, cold craft beers, and warm vibes intended to celebrate the fun many had had at the Native Florida Tap Room & Music Hall during its time on Hollywood Boulevard. Those in attendance were also there to send Kilmo off to the greener pastures of New Orleans with a smile.
Performances by the Shark Valley Sisters, Mr. Entertainment and the Pookiesmackers, Charlie Pickett, and Shaved Hamster were the fare of the evening. Though all of the sets were fun, particularly that of Mr. Entertainment, the undercurrent of sadness that comes with losing yet another venue was certainly there. It was during their set that we first encountered the enigma known to longtime Hollywood music fans as "Dancing Rene" -- a gentleman so enthralled by live music that he dances by himself in a way that can only be described as a missing Steve Martin routine.
We asked Kilmo at the end of the night if he had any parting words. What he gave was the most honest and heartfelt diatribe about the nature of independent art and music in South Florida we have heard in a long time.
"I have incredibly mixed feelings! I'm a South Floridian, and I've lived here since '65, started gigging in '75 around here in professional bands, Jaco (Pastorius) was my buddy and my mentor. I've toured with major guys, and I supported the independent music scene for 15 years now as a venue owner, sound engineer, bartender... You see what I do? I don't like this, I love this!
This is a great night, everyone shows up when you're gone! If it was like this every night here, I'd still be here. But, it can't be that way. The casino has taken a third of the business off of the whole city. I gotta compete with gambling. It can't really be done. Casinos are the Wal-Marts of the entertainment industry and enemies of art. My biggest word to our local market, to the Governor, and to the people of Florida: Casinos are destroying your art and destroying your culture.
Why do our businesses have to suffer for this? The City of Hollywood say they want to support music, they gave Jimmy Buffet like, 23 million for furniture... If you have a lot of money, they'll give you money. If you're a true artist, they give lip service. Are they ignorant bafoons? Are they morons? I don't know. They're only giving music lip service, they don't give a crap about the arts.
There's plenty of money to go around, and we can fucking do art on what they wipe their ass on in the morning, and we're used to it! Look, I'm a poor musician. I put every penny I had into this and it was great! I didn't go broke, it didn't fail, I just have better opportunities now."
We wish you the best in the Big Easy, Kilmo!
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