On Christmas Eve, I dropped by Momo's in Austin to catch performances by Jason Blum and Suzanna Choffel. I didn't know - no one there did - that it would be the last night of music at Momo's, at least in its current location.
The first sign that something was wrong was the day after Christmas when that night's performances were abruptly cancelled. It seems renovations to the ground floor of the building - where a new bar is planned - had caused some structural integrity issues that needed urgent attention. Shows were cancelled the next day too. Then, at 10pm on Tuesday the 27th, came this bombshell:
"It is with a heavy heart that I announce after 11 years Momo's on 6th is closing. While I cannot go into all the details, legally I can say the following: 'The building that is currently home to Momo’s is under construction and undergoing a large renovation. Under present circumstances, Momo’s will no longer be operating at this location. The building owner is working with Momo’s to secure a new home and hope to find one as soon as possible.' We are already scouting for new locations and hope to have an announcement in early 2012."
It's unclear what went on, or wrong, with the renovations, or where culpability lies, but the situation there was later described as "a hazardous change" ... which seemingly is not going to be rectified anytime soon.
Momo's closing is a huge blow to the Austin live music scene. It was a venue that was universally respected, along with its owner Paul Oveisi, as a haven for great music from many genres, where young bands could get a start and develop, and where the music community would gather to meet, greet and collaborate. A good few of that community worked at the venue - fine people, all of them. Let's hope we'll see Momo's 2.0 rise up to rock once again.