Where We Live: The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA

In addition to being the capital, Atlanta is the state of Georgia’s hot bed for entertainment and awesomely strange festivities. By far one of the most interesting larger cities within the South-East, Atlanta is not only the home base of The Coca-Cola Company and Delta Airlines (currently holding the record for our country’s busiest airport), but it also hosts a variety of museums and attractions including Dragon*Con, Cyclorama, Atlantic Station and Georgia Aquarium (the world’s largest indoor aquarium). And when it comes to music, Atlanta is almost always likely to book some of today’s biggest (and smallest) acts at one of its many unique venues. However, when it comes to hosting the best location for small to mid-level bands, The Masquerade takes the cake. This unique three-part venue provides the best of three-worlds; small cramped bar-room shows, dark and broody floor space lit up solely by warm and fuzzy red spotlights and a sweaty mass of die-hard fans ready to dance their feet off.

The Masquerade is located on North Ave. near Atlanta’s trendy and all too hip Little Five Points and is impossible to miss, given that you have the right directions. The massive black building sits atop the small hill drawing people in close with its big neon purple sign and rustic exterior. Originally a turn-of-the-century excelsior mill building, The Masquerade is now known as one of the country’s most unique nightclubs/concert venues for both indoor and outdoor shows of mostly alternative music styles like Metal, Punk, Rockabilly and Techno. And how could it not be! With three separate sections inside its massive interior, (Purgatory, Heaven and Hell), it’s no wonder it’s been given so much attention since its inception back in 1989. However, while it may maintain its own uniquely original and rustic appearance, which is both inviting and off-setting, it’s hard to ignore that The Masquerade looks like (and kind of is) a dilapidated building.

Over the years, it’s been rumored several times that The Masquerade would eventually get torn down and move to a new location. Hopefully this will never actually happen, but honestly it’s probably a smart idea for them to start re-considering. The Masquerade is one of those places where the floorboard feels like a taught trampoline with a rowdy enough crowd and if you happen to be downstairs at that moment it’s hard to not get a little paranoid about the ceiling caving in on top of you. And speaking of the downstairs portion, the acoustics are pretty terrible. It’s not uncommon that while you’re watching a show downstairs in Heaven that you’ll hear the booming drum and bass coming from another show taking place upstairs in Hell. And for those who get stuck downstairs in Purgatory (directly across from Heaven) get a little from both ends, which is even worse! Sounds awful, right? Well, no, not really. While The Masquerade could consider investing in some serious ceiling soundproofing, it’s truly an eclectic venue that still allows you to audibly listen to the music you want to hear and provides a unique atmosphere that feels both inviting and homey. And when you think about it, isn’t it more fun to share an exciting (and slightly scary) experience with friends in a dark, grungy hell-hole than at a clean, stream-line amphitheatre with highly refined sound quality?

Rarely charging over $15 for a show, The Masquerade naturally draws in a lot of college kids providing a fun-filled drunken shamboree behind its doors. In fact, it’s one of the few Atlanta venues that still hosts all ages shows and oftentimes the crowd can get pretty young depending on the event. Hosting a mix-up of local and well-known up and coming bands, The Masquerade is always offering something exciting whether it’s Cursive, The Aquabats, Taproot, Passion Pit or even Roller Disco night! While big name bands such as The Flaming Lips or Nine Inch Nails will never play there (hey, it’s still O.K. to dream), The Masquerade has always booked a wide variety of electronic, metal and punk acts from both the popular and the unknown in the past.

Overall, the Masquerade provides just enough of a grungy atmosphere to make you feel a little dirty and more than enough reasons to fear for your life, while instilling warm and fuzzy feelings in memory of all the wonderful and exciting experiences you’ve shared with the venue in the past or the many more you hope to share within its depths. So, if you can get past the slightly unstable structural integrity of the building and its sub-par acoustics, you’ll be guaranteed one hell of a party and more than likely a funny story or two that you can brag about to all your friends!

The Masquerade
695 North Ave
Atlanta, Ga 30308
(404) 577-8178

To view a complete schedule of upcoming events, click here.


Follow Consequence