I don’t see many concerts these days. The problem is that I’ve never been one to have much insight into the music scene or discover up-and-coming artists. Other than my time at UGA in Athens, by the time I hear of a band, they are usually well on their way to arena and stadium tours, which I hate. Every time I go to one, all I can think of is how much money I paid to watch the band on a large screen. Sometimes I get lucky and catch them just in time to play reasonably-sized Atlanta venues such as the Tabernacle or the Fox Theatre, but I’d rather see them in a venue the size of the now defunct Cotton Club, the Loft, Smith’s Olde Bar, or the Masquerade, which is where I went last night to see Meg Myers. I don’t even remember how I found her, but I heard one song I liked, which led me to listen to the rest of her album Sorry. I added her to be tracked on my Songkick app and, lo and behold, a show popped up only a few weeks away. I hadn’t been to the Masquerade since college, or maybe shortly after. I’m fairly certain I went foam dancing there in the 90s… Oh, the 90s. How things have changed. I actually went to a concert in flats last night. FLATS.
The Masquerade, located in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, recently celebrated its 25th birthday. Once a mill, it is now home to three indoor stages, Heaven, the largest on the top floor, Purgatory, the smallest, and Hell, somewhere in the middle. There is also an open-air amphitheater. Hell is where Meg played. It looked pretty much like I remembered from over a decade ago with cold stone walls and red lighting. We made our way to the bar to wait for the show. Tip: the times printed on the tickets are when the doors open, not when the show starts.
Hell is small enough that no matter where you stand you aren’t that far away. My friend and I were slightly challenged by our small heights and that fact that Meg apparently has a lot of six-foot tall fans (and Meg appeared to be rather petite herself) but we eventually were able to lounge against the wall and watch her energetically rock out. The bar was easily accessible to the back and there was plenty of breathing room since she had a good audience, but it wasn’t a sold-out show — even if it should have been.
Famous bands that have played the Masquerade in the past include The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Green Day.
There were a number of complaints online about parking being far and expensive if you didn’t get there early enough so we decided to take Uber instead.
A large portion of land that includes the spot where the Masquerade sits was recently purchased by a development company. Though the venue posted on Facebook that they were staying and continuing to book acts through 2016, there is skepticism about how long that will remain true.
I suggest catching a show while you can. I have trust issues with development companies ever since one razed my favorite bar in Buckhead, but don’t even get me started on that.
695 North Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Update: The Masquerade announced their future plans in a press release on June 22, 2016.