It's been a sad week for local artists, lovers of live music, and the general boozing population.
We reported on Wednesday night that Transit Lounge, one of SoFla's most beloved local venues had announced that it'll be shutting its doors this summer. Official word came via Facebook and Twitter that after ten years as one of Miami's favorite stages, the landlords have lost the property in a foreclosure battle.
Over the years, Transit has been home to not only the drunk and disorderly, but also the vast majority of the local acts in town. Homegrown favorites that run the gamut of our city's myriad diverse styles, from hip hop to Latin fusion to reggae.
"Transit has always been about the music and the art. And the people," says owner Will Edwards. "We have always given a stage to the new, the old and even the crazy at Transit."
And local artists agree. Suenalo, Locos Por Juana, Spam Allstars, Xperimento, Lanzallamas, Ketchy Shuby, Juke, ArtOfficial, ¡Mayday! and Conjunto Progreso are just a few of the local favs who have thrown down within the Downtown drinking spot's walls (and out in the patio) at some point or other, thrilling late night fans and keeping the party going until the wee hours.
In response to the closing, ArtOfficial's rep delivered this message from the band: "We'd like to thank Transit Lounge for supporting the Miami live music scene. We've had a lot of great shows there and we're sad to see it go."
"It was a staple in the Miami music and art scene," says Camilo Sierra of Xperimento. "I was always impressed with the artwork that was featured and, in the days of JAM Mondays, I felt like I was truly a part of something special. On behalf of Xperimento, I would like to say, 'good bye Transit. You witnessed our first police shutdown ever.'"
And though many of SoFla's favorite musicians share patrons' sorrows over what is essentially the end of an era, the predominant vibe is a mixture of emotions including hope as well as regret.
"All I gotta say is the music never dies," says Fabi Patino of Lanzallamas Monofonica. "I see it as a transition. They are opening a new place [Avenue D] where there will be great music just a few blocks across the bridge."
And others cite the recent opening of other venues as cause for optimism for our city's local live music scene.
"Well, really is sad news," says Locos Por Juana and Afro-Kumbé frontman Itagui Correa. "Transit has been a cool place to play music. I hope the best for them. On the other hand I'm happy about Miami's evolution. At the same time, two new venues, The Stage and PAX, opened dedicated to the music. We close one but we open two."
"It's disheartening to see another venue close it's doors," says DJ Le Spam. Though he shares Correa's sentiments, "we've had some great shows there, and it certainly seemed like they were getting good turnouts. Let's hope venues like The Stage and PAX can fill the void and go the long haul."
"Closing sucks and its nothing that any of us want," says Edwards. "But it is out of my hands. I just want to make sure that we go out with our heads up high, do our best to give a fitting tribute to the bands that helped make Transit and to celebrate nearly 10 years of Miami Transit Lounge."
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To that end, Transit is planning a full slate of shows through June into the last night, including some names that will both excite people and surprise them. Like in a "holy shit, NO WAY!" sort of way. We're not spilling the beans just yet, but there are some names on the lineup that you'll remember from your Hot Wheels days, as well as some of music baddest bad boys ever. Look for us to share that lineup in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, we hold up a moderately priced beer in your honor, Transit Lounge. And the fact that it's a.m. hours at the time of this posting be damned. We know you wouldn't want it any other way.