Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Masquerade Goes Underground

I don't delve to far into the local Atlanta music scene with this blog, but I have plenty of friends in touring band's from all parts of the world this will effect so I will weigh in as the Creative Loafing has only given one perspective to the news that the venue which has been rumored to close for years now is finally leaving the historic excelsior mill location on North Ave and moving to Underground atlanta. Under Ground Atlanta is a shopping and entertainment district that open in 1969. It was closed in 1980 after the MARTA transit system began running trains in 1979 and brought with it crime that was deemed uncontrollable in that area. The area was revitalized and converted into a shopping mall and re-opened in 1989. Then in 1992 with the Rodney King Verdict the area was damaged by looters who attacked tourists and after this incident and caused a 40 percent drop in sales. The area has struggled since even after the 2004 incentive passed by the city to allow bars there to serve until 4:00 am .

This incentive did spark the opening of two clubs Alley Kat and Future. Opened by a former employee of the classic Atlanta goth/fetish club the Chamber that was popular in the 90s, Future sought to serve as a home for displaced Chamber patrons and Alley Kat was more of a rock club that filled the void left by the last bastion of cock rock known as 9 Lives in the Little 5 points district. Atlanta has always been more of a punk town, because college age kids can play punk without it effecting their partying, you can get away with practicing minimally if you are only playing four chords in the first place. Even Mastodon has their punk roots. So real rock clubs come and go. If you are not the hipster flavor of the week playing at the Earl, the 529 or the Star Bar. Then Masquerade has been one of the only other options in-town. Atlanta is very divided this way most rock music is played outside the perimeter and then by radio listening suburbanites who think Slipknot is a new band.

The question not answered in what I have read about this move is...what is going to be different than when we tried this 12 years ago . If anything the area has gotten worse and Underground Atlanta is not much different than the other storefronts in the area where you can get gold in your teeth or minutes on your phone. In 2014 the area was up for sale to the developer WRS, who was going to turn it into yet another mixed use development. Which is what is replacing the Masquerade.  In fact these mixed use developments also close Thunder Box a rehearsal space that was located behind the Masquerade.  One of the first nails in the coffin of the city's hope to ever become  a rock town. The move has been called 'temporary" until they can find a better location. Think the kids are venturing into that part of downtown to see Cute is What We Piss On? Think again. To compare it to the Mammal Gallery a few blocks away is a mis-step as well. That is basically a bigger version of Under the Couch, where hipster- Georgia Tech students pretending to be punk rockers on their parents credit cards go. Here is the reality check, can I get more more reasonable thinking in the monitors?

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