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2014 After Dark Large


After Dark

A new era of nightlife has arrived in Atlanta, but it didn’t happen overnight. Over the last several years, the city has redefined itself as a vibrant place where traditional, trendy, experimental, edgy, and exotic sounds collide. Case in point: Edgewood Avenue. In the last five years, the revitalized stretch of street near the corner of Boulevard has become well established as Atlanta’s nightlife vanguard. Thanks to newer venues such as Erosol/Department Store and older ones such as Church and the Sound Table that helped start the nightlife renaissance here, you can find hip-hop, EDM, rock ‘n’ roll, Caribbean rhythms, house music, karaoke, or a marching band full of tubas any night of the week.

On Buford Highway, drag gets the dinner theater treatment at Lips Atlanta. Behind the establishment’s unassuming exterior, lavish costumes, over-the-top interior design, and some of the region’s best performers make for one of the city’s most electric drag productions.

Exceptional musicianship revealed itself in 2014 through the likes of burgeoning songwriter Eliot Bronson, indie rockers Warehouse, marimba player Chris Childs, and dozens of other fresh faces. At the same time, Atlanta legacy acts such as Mastodon and Black Lips rolled out stellar albums. Even the almighty OutKast returned to the stage after spending more than a decade in limbo. Seeing each of these long-running ATL ambassadors return for a strong year serves as a reminder of just how deep our city’s roots run.

The A3C hip-hop festival’s 10th year looks to be its biggest yet. The metal scene continues grinding along as Hellgoat trolls the depths of demonic riffage. And Dasher’s post-punk/hardcore dirge has continued to draw national attention. For this year’s Best of Atlanta issue, we went backstage for an insider’s look at some of the winners. It’s easy to get caught up in the image that Young Thug brings to the covers of magazines such as Complex and the Fader. But he wouldn’t be the cultural enigma he is if not for the contributions of his cohorts and producers Dun Deal, TM88, and Southside.

Sometimes, witnessing the process of what goes on behind the curtain is just as important as seeing it all unfold for a live audience. As our man Fort Knox says any time he steps onto a stage to host a hip-hop event, “It’s gonna be HEAVEE, HEAVEE HEAVEE!”

— Chad Radford, Music Editor

Best band that can’t find enough hours in the day

Small Reactions’
SMALL REACTIONS’ normal routine would be enough to give most dedicated musicians their fill of local scene participation. The group plays around town enough and reached a creative high with this summer’s Hung From Wire EP. Songs such as “Shark Week” and the title track roll with spontaneity,more...
SMALL REACTIONS’ normal routine would be enough to give most dedicated musicians their fill of local scene participation. The group plays around town enough and reached a creative high with this summer’s Hung From Wire EP. Songs such as “Shark Week” and the title track roll with spontaneity, heart-pounding grooves, and lyrics that ruminate on everything from sleepless nights to silverfish creeping around the bedroom. While prepping for the October release of Small Reactions’ proper debut, Similar Phantoms, the group’s members have pulled double-duty backing indie pop singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jeremy Underwood, aka Gold-Bears. Holding down Dalliances, Gold-Bears’ greatest album so far, while strengthening its own foundation, solidifies Small Reactions’ place as the most active band to emerge from Atlanta’s post-punk scene of 2014. www.smallreactions.bandcamp.com. less...

Best band to blow the roof off of the joint

The Wolfpack
When determining how badass a band truly is, its live show can’t just be good. The sheer physicality of its performance must force patrons to shut up and listen. No Atlanta band pulls off this feat with as much originality and force as THE WOLFPACK. Helmed by Grammy-winning saxophonist Kebbi Williams,more...
When determining how badass a band truly is, its live show can’t just be good. The sheer physicality of its performance must force patrons to shut up and listen. No Atlanta band pulls off this feat with as much originality and force as THE WOLFPACK. Helmed by Grammy-winning saxophonist Kebbi Williams, the Wolfpack is a backing band composed of sousaphone players that fuse musical prowess with a seamless ability to switch genres. The group has performed Star Wars’ “Emperor’s Theme” and rearranged Flying Lotus tunes. The portability of sousaphones, also known as marching tubas, allows the pack to roam around the crowd and blare its bass-heavy lines from every corner. www.facebook.com/wolfpackatl14. less...

Best hip-hop event host

David “Fort Knox” Freeman

Best nightlife district

Edgewood Avenue

Best album

Faun and a Pan Flute
No album better embodies young Atlanta’s passion for drawing out the undeniable beauty tucked away in the city’s forgotten corners than FAUN AND A PAN FLUTE’s self-titled LP (Mission Trips). The album is a masterpiece of experimental composition, an impenetrable enigma that takes serious risksmore...
No album better embodies young Atlanta’s passion for drawing out the undeniable beauty tucked away in the city’s forgotten corners than FAUN AND A PAN FLUTE’s self-titled LP (Mission Trips). The album is a masterpiece of experimental composition, an impenetrable enigma that takes serious risks in the name of furthering a regional musical accent. Elements of jazz, modern classical composition, rock, and improvisation meld into a singular sound that challenges listeners to reconsider the possibilities of each genre. As a metaphor, Faun and a Pan Flute mirrors the city’s tangled structural maze of logic while chipping away at Atlanta’s perpetual identity crisis. When it comes to shared chemistry, song composition, pure musical ability, and personality Faun and a Pan Flute tops anything else Atlanta has seen in 2014. It’s an absolute pleasure on the ears. www.faunandapanflute.bandcamp.com. less...

Best Atlanta legacy act

Black Lips
Few groups can claim to have not only left a profound mark on the local music scene that spawned them, but also to have altered the DNA of indie culture at large. BLACK LIPS is one of those rare bands. On the heels of 2005’s Let It Bloom (In the Red), and later signing with Vice Records to releasemore...
Few groups can claim to have not only left a profound mark on the local music scene that spawned them, but also to have altered the DNA of indie culture at large. BLACK LIPS is one of those rare bands. On the heels of 2005’s Let It Bloom (In the Red), and later signing with Vice Records to release 2007’s Good Bad Not Evil, the group provided a soundtrack to Vice’s late-aughts stranglehold on hipster culture. The group never seems to stop touring, spreading Southern garage rock riffage like rock ’n’ roll missionaries. Black Lips is one of the few bands that has toured through Iraq and been chased out of India, all while turning out albums that push the group’s sound forward. With the arrival of 2014’s critically acclaimed album Underneath the Rainbow and concurrent world tour, the group continues to further its garage rock legacy. As the scene at Atlanta’s ground level has continued evolving, Let It Bloom has become an American underground classic. And whenever a Black Lips show happens on the band’s home turf, it’s still a night to remember. www.black-lips.com. less...

Best metal band

Hellgoat

Best of the fests: Day trip to see OutKast

CounterPoint Music Festival

Best instrumentalist

Chris Childs

Best mixtape

Pulp Fiction

Best songwriter

Eliot Bronson

Best band

Mastodon
In June, MASTODON released its sixth album, Once More ’Round the Sun. It arrived as a slab of hooky hard rock and immediately became the band’s highest charting record yet, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard 200. True metal heads are quick to eat their own. It’s been a delicate balancing act formore...
In June, MASTODON released its sixth album, Once More ’Round the Sun. It arrived as a slab of hooky hard rock and immediately became the band’s highest charting record yet, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard 200. True metal heads are quick to eat their own. It’s been a delicate balancing act for the band to craft those tangled and monstrous riffs that keep longtime fans headbanging, while pushing the group further toward commercial success. The 11 songs on Once More ’Round the Sun hit the sweet spot. Credibility on both fronts comes thundering in on such sleek, stately, but still brutally skull-crushing songs such as “Tread Lightly,” “High Road,” and “Diamond in the Witch House.” Mastodon’s fusion of the prog/sludge perfection of such past victories as Leviathan (2004) and Blood Mountain (2006) constrict around tempered pop-metal the group brought with Crack the Skye (2009) and The Hunter (2011). The group’s endless touring schedule has left a deep impact. Once More ’Round the Sun resonates with the same almighty roar that catapulted these mammoth rockers far out into the cosmos. www.mastodonrocks.com. less...

Best band to sharpen post-punk’s teeth and claws

Dasher
DASHER is still a bit of a homegrown secret, but that shouldn’t last long. Dasher made its vinyl debut in May to rave reviews with the Die Slaughterhaus 7-inch “Go Rambo” b/w “Time Flys.” Shortly after, the band joined local lady punks the Coathangers on Suicide Squeeze Records’ roster. Themore...
DASHER is still a bit of a homegrown secret, but that shouldn’t last long. Dasher made its vinyl debut in May to rave reviews with the Die Slaughterhaus 7-inch “Go Rambo” b/w “Time Flys.” Shortly after, the band joined local lady punks the Coathangers on Suicide Squeeze Records’ roster. The group’s dark and driving sound is a hybrid of post-punk and hardcore. Singer, principal songwriter, and drummer Kylee Kimbrough enabled the band’s ascent when she set a permanent lineup for the group with guitarist Kelly Stroup (Manic) and bassist David Michaud (Uniform). The band adapts to any noisy, gnarly show by laying waste to everything in earshot. dasher2.bandcamp.com. less...

Best post-punk salvo

Warehouse’s ‘Tesseract’

Best bartender

Crystal Nickles at Sweetwater Bar and Grill

Best cocktail bar

The Sound Table

Best college bar

DiveBar Buckhead

Best gay bar

Mary’s Mary's

Best local folk act

Lily and the Tigers AND Little Tybee AND Levi Lowrey AND Neil Cribbs

Lily and the Tigers


www.lilyandthetigers.org


AND


Little Tybee


www.littletybee.com


AND


Levi Lowrey


www.levilowrey.com


AND


Neil Cribbs


www.neilcribbs.com

Best local MC

Arion Lee MC
soundcloud.com/arionlee-mc

Best local punk act

Dasher
dasher2.bandcamp.com

Best blues club

Blind Willie’s Blind Willie's

Best karaoke

Mr. Smokey’s Karaoke

Best local electronic act

RalphandLouie
soundcloud.com/ralphandlouie

Best local mixtape

Atlanta Forever 3 by MCBEEZY
soundcloud.com/mcbeezy/atlanta-forever-3

Best local overall music act

Heroes x Villains
soundcloud.com/heroesxvillains

Best local producer

RalphandLouie
soundcloud.com/ralphandlouie

Best local songwriter

Levi Lowrey
levilowrey.com

Best bouncer

Greg Meah

Best lesbian bar

My Sister’s Room My Sister's Room

Best local album

Connor Christian & Southern Gothic’s New Hometown AND Levi Lowrey’s self-titled album

Connor Christian & Southern Gothic’s New Hometown


www.connorchristian.com


AND


Levi Lowrey’s self-titled album


www.levilowrey.com

Best local experimental music act

HYDRABADD
soundcloud.com/hydrabadd

Best local new music act

NEVR
soundcloud.com/nevrnevr

Best local song

“Our Streets” by Stokeswood

Best neighborhood for nightlife

East Atlanta
eaca.net

Best place to play pool

The Independent

Best sex club

Trapeze Swinger Club Trapeze

Best stripper other than Blondie

Barbie (Clermont Lounge)
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Best band that can’t find enough hours in the day

Small Reactions’
SMALL REACTIONS’ normal routine would be enough to give most dedicated musicians their fill of local scene participation. The group plays around town enough and reached a creative high with this summer’s Hung From Wire EP. Songs such as “Shark Week” and the title track roll with spontaneity,more...
SMALL REACTIONS’ normal routine would be enough to give most dedicated musicians their fill of local scene participation. The group plays around town enough and reached a creative high with this summer’s Hung From Wire EP. Songs such as “Shark Week” and the title track roll with spontaneity, heart-pounding grooves, and lyrics that ruminate on everything from sleepless nights to silverfish creeping around the bedroom. While prepping for the October release of Small Reactions’ proper debut, Similar Phantoms, the group’s members have pulled double-duty backing indie pop singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jeremy Underwood, aka Gold-Bears. Holding down Dalliances, Gold-Bears’ greatest album so far, while strengthening its own foundation, solidifies Small Reactions’ place as the most active band to emerge from Atlanta’s post-punk scene of 2014. www.smallreactions.bandcamp.com. less...

Best band to blow the roof off of the joint

The Wolfpack
When determining how badass a band truly is, its live show can’t just be good. The sheer physicality of its performance must force patrons to shut up and listen. No Atlanta band pulls off this feat with as much originality and force as THE WOLFPACK. Helmed by Grammy-winning saxophonist Kebbi Williams,more...
When determining how badass a band truly is, its live show can’t just be good. The sheer physicality of its performance must force patrons to shut up and listen. No Atlanta band pulls off this feat with as much originality and force as THE WOLFPACK. Helmed by Grammy-winning saxophonist Kebbi Williams, the Wolfpack is a backing band composed of sousaphone players that fuse musical prowess with a seamless ability to switch genres. The group has performed Star Wars’ “Emperor’s Theme” and rearranged Flying Lotus tunes. The portability of sousaphones, also known as marching tubas, allows the pack to roam around the crowd and blare its bass-heavy lines from every corner. www.facebook.com/wolfpackatl14. less...

Best bartender

Crystal Nickles at Sweetwater Bar and Grill

Best cocktail bar

The Sound Table

Best college bar

DiveBar Buckhead

Best gay bar

Mary’s Mary's

Best hip-hop event host

David “Fort Knox” Freeman

Best local folk act

Lily and the Tigers AND Little Tybee AND Levi Lowrey AND Neil Cribbs

Lily and the Tigers


www.lilyandthetigers.org


AND


Little Tybee


www.littletybee.com


AND


Levi Lowrey


www.levilowrey.com


AND


Neil Cribbs


www.neilcribbs.com

Best local MC

Arion Lee MC
soundcloud.com/arionlee-mc

Best local punk act

Dasher
dasher2.bandcamp.com

Best nightlife district

Edgewood Avenue

Best album

Faun and a Pan Flute
No album better embodies young Atlanta’s passion for drawing out the undeniable beauty tucked away in the city’s forgotten corners than FAUN AND A PAN FLUTE’s self-titled LP (Mission Trips). The album is a masterpiece of experimental composition, an impenetrable enigma that takes serious risksmore...
No album better embodies young Atlanta’s passion for drawing out the undeniable beauty tucked away in the city’s forgotten corners than FAUN AND A PAN FLUTE’s self-titled LP (Mission Trips). The album is a masterpiece of experimental composition, an impenetrable enigma that takes serious risks in the name of furthering a regional musical accent. Elements of jazz, modern classical composition, rock, and improvisation meld into a singular sound that challenges listeners to reconsider the possibilities of each genre. As a metaphor, Faun and a Pan Flute mirrors the city’s tangled structural maze of logic while chipping away at Atlanta’s perpetual identity crisis. When it comes to shared chemistry, song composition, pure musical ability, and personality Faun and a Pan Flute tops anything else Atlanta has seen in 2014. It’s an absolute pleasure on the ears. www.faunandapanflute.bandcamp.com. less...

Best Atlanta legacy act

Black Lips
Few groups can claim to have not only left a profound mark on the local music scene that spawned them, but also to have altered the DNA of indie culture at large. BLACK LIPS is one of those rare bands. On the heels of 2005’s Let It Bloom (In the Red), and later signing with Vice Records to releasemore...
Few groups can claim to have not only left a profound mark on the local music scene that spawned them, but also to have altered the DNA of indie culture at large. BLACK LIPS is one of those rare bands. On the heels of 2005’s Let It Bloom (In the Red), and later signing with Vice Records to release 2007’s Good Bad Not Evil, the group provided a soundtrack to Vice’s late-aughts stranglehold on hipster culture. The group never seems to stop touring, spreading Southern garage rock riffage like rock ’n’ roll missionaries. Black Lips is one of the few bands that has toured through Iraq and been chased out of India, all while turning out albums that push the group’s sound forward. With the arrival of 2014’s critically acclaimed album Underneath the Rainbow and concurrent world tour, the group continues to further its garage rock legacy. As the scene at Atlanta’s ground level has continued evolving, Let It Bloom has become an American underground classic. And whenever a Black Lips show happens on the band’s home turf, it’s still a night to remember. www.black-lips.com. less...

Best blues club

Blind Willie’s Blind Willie's

Best karaoke

Mr. Smokey’s Karaoke

Best local electronic act

RalphandLouie
soundcloud.com/ralphandlouie

Best local mixtape

Atlanta Forever 3 by MCBEEZY
soundcloud.com/mcbeezy/atlanta-forever-3

Best local overall music act

Heroes x Villains
soundcloud.com/heroesxvillains

Best local producer

RalphandLouie
soundcloud.com/ralphandlouie

Best local songwriter

Levi Lowrey
levilowrey.com

Best metal band

Hellgoat

Best of the fests: Day trip to see OutKast

CounterPoint Music Festival

Best bouncer

Greg Meah

Best instrumentalist

Chris Childs

Best lesbian bar

My Sister’s Room My Sister's Room

Best local album

Connor Christian & Southern Gothic’s New Hometown AND Levi Lowrey’s self-titled album

Connor Christian & Southern Gothic’s New Hometown


www.connorchristian.com


AND


Levi Lowrey’s self-titled album


www.levilowrey.com

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