Mojoes in Joliet is no more. The Dark Tower of Saruman has fallen at the hands of the Orcs who rule Joliet, Illinois. Former owner Chris Triebes vowed to “never do anything business-related in the city ever again”.
As far as I can tell, this all started back on April 11th,2015 when Testament, Exodus and Shattered Sun rolled through. The city of Joliet decided to restrict the venue’s capacity and then conveniently filed overcrowding charges. I was one of the patrons who couldn’t get in that night and I had the feeling this was the beginning of the end…
Mojoes was a venue that focused on hard rock and heavy metal music; it has since been sold and re-opened as a place that caters to the bluegrass, country crowd….another blow to heavy metal, or is it?
Let’s be honest, Mojoes wasn’t the most beloved venue in Chicagoland. People attending shows there openly bashed the place. There’s even a ‘Fuck Mojoes’ page on Facebook. I personally wasn’t fond of the sound there, thought the location sucked and wasn’t happy with the overpriced drinks but I am really sorry to see this place go because it did a lot for the metal scene here in Illinois. I saw a lot of great shows at Mojoes and conducted some amazing interviews. The truth is, Mojoes booked QUALITY METAL shows, it carried the metal scene south but not as far south as the Pearl Room and it was conveniently situated, just thirty minutes away from downtown Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. This made it accessible to fans from both geographical regions. I think it brought those two scenes together, a unity worthy of admiration.
Metal in America isn’t what is used to be. Honestly, we suck now… There was a time when America represented metal on a grand scale. In Chicago, metal bands could play 4500 seat venues like the Aragon Ballroom regularly, there were tons of metal friendly sub-venues like: The Cabaret Metro, Medusa’s, The Vic, The Rave, The Gateway, The Avalon Night Club and even a place called The Thirsty Wale in the suburbs. It was a booming scene that was capped by top tier stadiums like the Rosemont Horizon, The UIC Pavilion and the sorely missed outdoor suburbanite venue, Poplar Creek.
What happens now? Aside from Reggie’s Rock Club and a couple other larger venues the metal market appears to be up for grabs. I saw Wednesday 13 and Holy Grail play at the Brauer House (1000 N. Rohlwing Road #13 Lombard, IL 60148) back on Aug 1st. I noticed Origin, Krisiun and Aeon are playing at Bada Brew (802 Theodore Street Joliet, IL 60435) on September 4th and of course Cannibal Corpse and Cattle Decapitation at Durty Nellie’s (180 N. Smith Street Palatine, IL 60067) in Palatine October 30th if you dare….
I honestly don’t know what to make of this development. The thought process behind it all is definitely appealing; more venues (no matter the size) offering metal in more places will undoubtedly create new opportunities to build the metal scene here in Chicago. Perhaps it will ignite the curiosity of the (younger) suburban crowd, to check out the metal acts playing in their own backyards.
Either way, the demise of Mojoes should be mourned. The place may have sucked ass but there is no doubt that a lot of great acts played some memorable shows there – concerts, which I will definitely remember and for that I am thankful. \m/