Late Thursday evening, the Borg Ward—Milwaukee’s venerable all-ages club located at 823 W. National Ave. in Walker’s Point—announced it was closed, effective immediately. In a letter posted to Facebook, organizers explained that after eight and half years “of inhabitance,” the largely hardcore and experimental venue would be “[leaving] behind [its] current physical form.” Here’s the full letter:
The Borg is writing to inform you all that the next evolutionary step in The Borg’s existence has come upon us. The Borg will leave behind the current physical form at 823 W. National after 8 and a half years of inhabitance. There have been many great moments that have occurred inside the husk and it has been unreal to see the changes within the Milwaukee music and art scene over the past near decade.
Thank you all for every show, art gallery, and event that has taken place in The Borg’s presence, for now it is time to evolve and continue on with the Borg’s existential mission. Whether the Borg becomes omnipresent, lurks in the canals of history and time, or inhabits a new husk made out of walls, the Borg will continue to assimilate you all.
Phase One: Borg Ward
2007 – 2016
So why has the long-running space suddenly closed up shop? We reached out to the Borg Ward’s Jay Linski for answers; here’s what he had to say:
Essentially what happened was this past Saturday there was a contemporary hardcore show that took place that featured a band called Kingmaker’s last show. I myself am not very knowledgable about that sect of music and wasn’t even present at the show, but I guess they were big enough to attract an absurd amount of people from all over the region and country. The crowd was so big and attracting attention that I have been told one of our neighbors called in a noise complaint. The cops showed up right before the last band started and realized what was going on and it all went downhill from there. Suprisingly the show was allowed to finish, but the damage was already done.
With the barrage of inspections and cops we have facing us, and a bit of concern of the structrual integrity of the bulding itself, as the building was built in the late 1800s, we decided it would be best to bow out at the eight-and-a-half-year mark, which for a DIY venue is quite a feat. Personally having been involved since June of 2008, about nine months after it first opened, it has been insane to see how much the city has changed in that amount of time and how long ago certain events seem now.
Unfortunately the last show is in the past now, as I would of loved to send The Borg Ward off in a way that would of summed up all the important aspects of its duration. The Borg has had quite the history and there are very many stories that I feel should be documented in more than just the memories of those who have experienced it firsthand. With that said it should be not a time to mourn nor a time to wallow of good times gone. While tonight there is a void in our city and darkness has fallen upon us, tomorrow brings upon a new opportunity. Milwaukee is now in need of a solid all-ages venue for the smaller artists and for those whose musical interests are too experimental or removed from the mainstream.
And you never know, maybe we may get to experience Phase Two of the Borg in the near future…