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Best of Atlanta 2016 After Dark

After Dark BOA


After Dark

Vision guides Atlanta’s best and brightest. Whether it’s through Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher’s work on Ember City, the new rehearsal studio and practice facility he’s overseeing in Capitol View, or young artists such as ABRA pushing the aesthetics of bedroom pop, R&B, and hip-hop production to dark and inventive new places, Atlantans are never satisfied with the status quo.

New development shuffles the city’s people and cultures around the perimeter like pawns on a chessboard. It’s disruptive, but it only makes us more aware of the relationships Atlanta’s residents have with the urban landscape, and with each other. Experimental hip-hop producer and MC Keith William and modern classical pianist Alexa Lima reinvented their respective musical aesthetics by mashing them together and stripping them of traditional expectations. Lil Yachty rounded up a team of his hometown peers to form his own “yacht club” and push Atlanta hip-hop into artfully gritty new terrain. And Fantasy Guys transformed the city’s tried-and-true rock clubs into all-night beach parties.

Neighborhood-centric DIY music and arts scenes grew out of the Mammal Gallery’s incubator for musical experimentation in South Downtown. Elliott Street Deli & Pub in Castleberry Hill facilitated a thriving grassroots jazz community that’s connected by a scene of world-class musicians. Percussionist Rafael Pereira has built a network that led him all the way to a July Fourth gig at the White House. The festival circuit has boomed. The annual Shaky Knees Festival grows larger with each passing year, and the Wrecking Ball digs deep into punk, hardcore, and emo music to fill a much-needed niche.

In 2016, Atlantans looked thoughtfully at the city around them to find new potential, and plant new roots amid the changing scenery.

— Chad Radford

Best trivia night BOA Award Winner

Adult Trivia at the Local no.7 AND Dirty South Trivia at Grindhouse Killer Burgers AND Geek Trivia at Battle & Brew

Best cover band BOA Award Winner

Yacht Rock Revue

Best local album BOA Award Winner

Barbaric (Harvester)

Best local DJ BOA Award Winner

Vicki Powell

Best local label BOA Award Winner

Deer Bear Wolf AND Psych Army

Best local blues act BOA Award Winner

Barrel House

Best local music video BOA Award Winner

New Perfume (Chelsea Shag)
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Best drag queen BOA Award Winner

Brent Star

Best instrumentalist BOA Award Winner

Rafael "Rafa" Pereira
Percussionist RAFAEL “RAFA” PEREIRA celebrated July 4, 2016, in the White House, sitting at the dinner table alongside the president and first lady. It’s one of the job perks of being the percussionist for Janelle Monáe’s live band. Such an evening would be the highlight of anyone’s year,more...
Percussionist RAFAEL “RAFA” PEREIRA celebrated July 4, 2016, in the White House, sitting at the dinner table alongside the president and first lady. It’s one of the job perks of being the percussionist for Janelle Monáe’s live band. Such an evening would be the highlight of anyone’s year, but for Pereira, this has been a year of highlights. In addition to becoming a father, Pereira released his latest album, Zabaduo, a collection of hypnotic Brazilian-flavored numbers with bass player Charlie Wooton, on his self-run Tribo Records label — an offshoot of Ropeadope Records that Pereira uses to showcase Brazilian talent from Georgia and abroad. Pereira has an uncanny ability to adapt as a musician. The Brazilian-born Atlanta transplant has spent the last 13 years in the city allowing his South American percussion style to flourish without letting it define him as an artist. What makes a good musician great is the ability to adapt to whatever the situation calls for. Whether picking up a wedding gig with OutKast cohorts Horns Inc., rolling out polyrhythms alongside Wooten, or guiding the retro-future rhythms of Monáe’s R&B, hip-hop, soul, funk, and sci-fi show on stages everywhere from the clubs to the White House, Pereira’s résumé from the last year alone raises the bar high for musicians around the world. www.triborecords.com. less...

Best local instrumentalist BOA Award Winner

Francesco Maceri

Best local R&B/soul act BOA Award Winner

Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics

Best local song BOA Award Winner

New Perfume (Chelsea Shag)

Best local studio BOA Award Winner

The work of producer and engineer Ben Price underpins some of Atlanta’s most fearless musical talent. At his home studio dubbed STUDILAROCHE, Price uses his technical and creative prowess to enhance compositions from Little Tybee’s intricate psych-folk to Faun and a Pan Flute’s dizzying brand ofmore...
The work of producer and engineer Ben Price underpins some of Atlanta’s most fearless musical talent. At his home studio dubbed STUDILAROCHE, Price uses his technical and creative prowess to enhance compositions from Little Tybee’s intricate psych-folk to Faun and a Pan Flute’s dizzying brand of modern classical. Price’s production creates a thread of continuity between Atlanta bands, forming a distinct sense of musical community. Before Studilaroche, Price worked with legendary producer Ricky Keller, where he gained early experience working with storied names such as Scarface and Ciara. His ability to frame lavish textures is easily recognizable on some of this year’s most exciting albums, most notably Book of Colors’ eponymous debut and Hello Ocho’s freewheeling sophomore LP, In Portuguese. Those lucky enough to enter Studilaroche’s doors not only get exposure to Price’s extensive recording expertise, but an opportunity to join a local legacy. 404-840-2365. www.studilaroche.com. less...

Best music festival BOA Award Winner

Shaky Knees Music Festival
The SHAKY KNEES MUSIC FESTIVAL turned four years old last spring — old enough to have an iron grip on the Southeast’s festival scene, and young enough to keep things interesting. The brainchild of promoter Tim Sweetwood has grown steadily with each return, and this year’s move to Centennial Olympicmore...
The SHAKY KNEES MUSIC FESTIVAL turned four years old last spring — old enough to have an iron grip on the Southeast’s festival scene, and young enough to keep things interesting. The brainchild of promoter Tim Sweetwood has grown steadily with each return, and this year’s move to Centennial Olympic Park took the edge off the heat with green grass, dirt, and mud (much more agreeable on the feet than concrete when you’re standing in the sun all day). Since the beginning, SK’s lineup has boasted something for the teen scene, indie aficionados, and dad rockers alike. But placing Jane’s Addiction performing Ritual De Lo Habitual alongside Huey Lewis and the News, Savages, Deftones, the Black Angels, and more surpassed the middle-of-the-road fare that drives such monolithic gatherings. There’s taste and vision on display in Shaky Knees’ lineup. It forces the competition to pick up the pace — even stage DIY counter fests (hello, Flaky Niece Fest) — and Atlanta’s summer music scene is made all the richer because of it. www.shakykneesfestival.com. less...

Best promoter BOA Award Winner

Ari Fouriezos
When bands talk about ARI FOURIEZOS of Sorry, Mom! Productions, it’s hard to tell whether they’re talking about their favorite promoter or one of their best friends. Fouriezos’ ability to constantly hustle over email, book shows in Atlanta and tours for Atlanta bands, work the door at venues, givemore...
When bands talk about ARI FOURIEZOS of Sorry, Mom! Productions, it’s hard to tell whether they’re talking about their favorite promoter or one of their best friends. Fouriezos’ ability to constantly hustle over email, book shows in Atlanta and tours for Atlanta bands, work the door at venues, give away boatloads of free advice, and always take the time to give a big smile and an even bigger hug when passing you in the street all made Fouriezos critical to Atlanta’s musical community in 2016. She supports bands across genres (Chelsea Shag and Man Up, Yancey) and Sorry, Mom! has booked stand-out shows all over the city. Crafting bills at traditional venues like the Earl, untraditional pop-up shows at places like American Sushi Recording, outdoor neighborhood festivals, and magic DIY shows at the Sewing Room takes patience, creativity, and lots of stamina, which Fouriezos never seems to run out of. www.sorrymomproductions.com. less...

Best psychedelic experience BOA Award Winner

The 4th Side of the Eternal Triangle
“Welcome to Side Four” kicks off the Difference Machine’s latest album, THE 4TH SIDE OF THE ETERNAL TRIANGLE (Psych Army Records), and begins a headlong trip into the rabbit hole. Hip-hop, surrealism, the Illuminati, and the dark side wriggle and writhe around each other in an unrivaled, intoxicatingmore...
“Welcome to Side Four” kicks off the Difference Machine’s latest album, THE 4TH SIDE OF THE ETERNAL TRIANGLE (Psych Army Records), and begins a headlong trip into the rabbit hole. Hip-hop, surrealism, the Illuminati, and the dark side wriggle and writhe around each other in an unrivaled, intoxicating musical experience. On stage, the Difference Machine experience has always been about jamming the senses — dazzling the eyes and the ears with a show of massive visual projections and bombastic sounds. The 4th Side of the Eternal Triangle presses it onto wax. Time drags, rhythms open up to reveal a kaleidoscope of meanings, symbolism, and spiritual epiphanies via songs such as “Smoke” ft. Homeboy Sandman, “It’s Alive” ft. Paten Locke, and “Kingdom of Earth” ft. Alexa Lima. This is music that smashes through the boundaries of what hip-hop is to what it can be. There are no musical clichés on display here. One could label it “experimental,” but to do so implies that the crew isn’t completely in control of this trip. Turn on, tune-in, freak out! www.thedifferencemachine.bandcamp.com. less...

Best role model BOA Award Winner

Brock Scott
As the singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter for orchestral rock outfit Little Tybee, BROCK SCOTT knows how to whip an audience into a euphoric state with top-notch players and timeless arrangements. As a conceptual artist, marketing master, and businessman, he knows the value of keeping a closemore...
As the singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter for orchestral rock outfit Little Tybee, BROCK SCOTT knows how to whip an audience into a euphoric state with top-notch players and timeless arrangements. As a conceptual artist, marketing master, and businessman, he knows the value of keeping a close eye on all of his creative pursuits. In the last year, Scott founded his own record label/creative agency called On the Grid Creative. He also spearheaded innovative branding and Kickstarter campaigns to fund Little Tybee’s self-titled fourth album. The results of his creative hustle yielded more than $21,000 to fund the album. In an era when major-label deals and support are as elusive as the Sasquatch, and indie labels are mostly curators of taste sans budget, Scott’s efforts revealed there are ways to work around the old label system. Independent artists can empower themselves with a little bit of sweat, and a whole lot of brainstorming. This is how it’s done. www.littletybee.com. less...

Best trivia night BOA Award Winner

Adult Trivia at the Local no.7 AND Dirty South Trivia at Grindhouse Killer Burgers AND Geek Trivia at Battle & Brew

Best comeback BOA Award Winner

Gucci Mane
Let’s all just take a moment and revel in the fact that GUCCI MANE is back in the mix. Elvis had a ’68 comeback — Gucci’s ’16 comeback is looking lean and mean. Guwop is drug free, focused, and a distinguished beard covers that ice cream cone on his face. With this new reformed disposition,more...
Let’s all just take a moment and revel in the fact that GUCCI MANE is back in the mix. Elvis had a ’68 comeback — Gucci’s ’16 comeback is looking lean and mean. Guwop is drug free, focused, and a distinguished beard covers that ice cream cone on his face. With this new reformed disposition, the Mane is unstoppable. Immediately upon his release from prison, new songs and collabs with the likes of Southside, Young Thug, Zaytoven, Kanye, Mike Will Made-It, and more filled up errrbody’s Facebook and Google news feeds. But nobody anticipated the arrival of his latest and greatest album, Everybody Looking. “1st Day Out tha Feds” is the album’s lead single, and it carries with it a message that mirrors the cautionary tale Gucci delivered with 2009’s “Heavy”: Being a trap god is hard work when there’s so much temptation and felonious behavior at your fingertips. But with “1st Day Out,” Gucci’s looking at the flip side: “Trying to be patient but nigga I can’t wait/On the chase to kill my enemies and beat my case.” Gucci’s mind and body are in a good place, and the path of righteousness lies before him. Still, he pines for the good old days. What he’ll do next is keeping the world in suspense. www.guccimaneonline.com/everybodylooking. less...

Best cover band BOA Award Winner

Yacht Rock Revue

Best dive bar BOA Award Winner

One of the best dive bars in town hides in plain sight amid the Midtown Promenade’s many restaurants. THE HIGHLANDER is an old-school punk and metalhead hangout, without being so exclusive to any music scene that curious passersby feel out of place stopping in for some pub grub. The music is loud andmore...
One of the best dive bars in town hides in plain sight amid the Midtown Promenade’s many restaurants. THE HIGHLANDER is an old-school punk and metalhead hangout, without being so exclusive to any music scene that curious passersby feel out of place stopping in for some pub grub. The music is loud and the servers nod along to the whiplash riffs of Metallica as they take your order. Inside feels like the calm before the storm at a classic metal show. The picnic tables on the beer garden patio are the perfect spot for a chill respite from the Southern heat at night. Drinks are reasonably priced and the chicken wings are underrated. The Highlander also makes a worthwhile date night diversion before walking to the nearby Midtown Art Cinema. If you want to stuff your stomach, check out the all-you-can-eat crab legs Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (or while supplies last). Some nights, the back bar hosts live music from gritty, working-class punk and metal acts who just want to throw down. less...

Best experimental act BOA Award Winner

Dialogue
A Berklee College of Music graduate and classically trained pianist making a hard left into extreme noise seems like an unexpected move. But when Alexa Lima joins forces with Keith William of Atlanta hip-hop outfit Wake, their talents come together in a wash of abstract sound called DIALOGUE. The collaborationmore...
A Berklee College of Music graduate and classically trained pianist making a hard left into extreme noise seems like an unexpected move. But when Alexa Lima joins forces with Keith William of Atlanta hip-hop outfit Wake, their talents come together in a wash of abstract sound called DIALOGUE. The collaboration began as a means of deconstructing Lima’s 2015 self-titled EP. Paired with William’s noisy impulses, Lima’s modern classical compositions are deconstructed to reveal a universe of hidden possibilities through sampling and an avant-garde approach to sound. This year, their efforts culminated in a hypnotic visual compilation titled “Study No. 3,” in which any semblance of hip-hop production or traditional structure melts into a haze of open-ended sonic texture. To call the result of their deep musical interaction noise sells their works short. But to call it anything else is misleading. On stage, they run a turntable into a sampler and synthesizers. William samples and manipulates records live while Lima plays keys and twists knobs. The music is composed, but done in a language that’s singular to this pairing of musicians. Abstractions, a debut cassette featuring Lima’s EP on the A-side and Dialogue’s deconstruction on the flip side, is due out in September. www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT6SaypdpPk. less...

Best live act BOA Award Winner

Fantasy Guys
It only takes about a minute for FANTASY GUYS to engulf an audience in their seaside beach-pop vibe. Phones disappear, smiles widen, and the whole crowd is happily swept away in pulsating waves of surf-pop euphoria. Inyo Galatea (guitar, flute, voice), Maddy Davis (vibraphone, synth, keyboards), andmore...
It only takes about a minute for FANTASY GUYS to engulf an audience in their seaside beach-pop vibe. Phones disappear, smiles widen, and the whole crowd is happily swept away in pulsating waves of surf-pop euphoria. Inyo Galatea (guitar, flute, voice), Maddy Davis (vibraphone, synth, keyboards), and Mitchell “Hibiscus Chad” Hardage (bass, drum loops) transform any room into a scene that would make Jimmy Buffett’s mouth water. Hardage’s disarming smile and grooving bass, Davis’ smooth vibraphone and mid-song dance moves, and Galatea’s buoyant guitar and cherubic voice float on yacht rock gear and flip-flops. It’s easy to see how Fantasy Guys charm every venue into a mid-tempo crush fest of sweaty dancing bodies. www.fantasycometrue.net. less...

Best local album BOA Award Winner

Barbaric (Harvester)

Best local DJ BOA Award Winner

Vicki Powell

Best local label BOA Award Winner

Deer Bear Wolf AND Psych Army

Best neighborhood bar BOA Award Winner

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Castleberry Hill, ELLIOTT STREET DELI & PUB offers the neighborhood an underground hot spot for creative music. Brothers Mike and Peter Jakob renovated the space in 2006, and in the last decade the unassuming pub has grown into one of Atlanta’s most influential musicmore...
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Castleberry Hill, ELLIOTT STREET DELI & PUB offers the neighborhood an underground hot spot for creative music. Brothers Mike and Peter Jakob renovated the space in 2006, and in the last decade the unassuming pub has grown into one of Atlanta’s most influential music hangouts. Bassist Kevin Scott continues to host Tuesday night jam sessions on the pub’s basement stage, bringing in a rotating cast of jazz heavyweights including saxophonists Kebbi Williams and Eric Fontaine. Elliott Street has participated in art celebrations such as Flux Night and hosted work from local favorites such as Evereman. On April 2, the club celebrated its 10-year anniversary with performances from Kebbi Williams and the Wolfpack, who found new audiences in its intimate basement venue. City Councilman Kwanza Hall helped commemorate the pub’s contributions to local culture by adopting April 2 as “Elliott Street Pub Day” in Atlanta. The Elliott Street Deli & Pub is a cultural touchstone for rising musical talent, and a refuge for those seeking quality food, drink, and community. less...

Best neighborhood color-bearer BOA Award Winner

One thing that surprises and attracts people from across the country to Atlanta is its no-fuss inclusivity. Nowhere is that more apparent than MARY’S in East Atlanta. While the dive bar is by definition a queer space, all races, gender identities, and sexualities are welcome. Mary’s is a safe space,more...
One thing that surprises and attracts people from across the country to Atlanta is its no-fuss inclusivity. Nowhere is that more apparent than MARY’S in East Atlanta. While the dive bar is by definition a queer space, all races, gender identities, and sexualities are welcome. Mary’s is a safe space, but definitely not a bore. It’s known and loved for its delightfully campy, devil-may-care vibe, and, of course, the famous Tuesday and Saturday night Mary-oke. less...

Best 18+ dance club BOA Award Winner

RUSH LOUNGE AKA the IRIS is the quintessential spot for 18-and-up nightlife, and all things trap, EDM, and candy bracelets. This late-night Buford Highway haunt is a stomping ground for such lauded DJs and producers as Ployd, Skymatic, Eddie Gold, and many more. But this year's resident DJs Strangermore...
RUSH LOUNGE AKA the IRIS is the quintessential spot for 18-and-up nightlife, and all things trap, EDM, and candy bracelets. This late-night Buford Highway haunt is a stomping ground for such lauded DJs and producers as Ployd, Skymatic, Eddie Gold, and many more. But this year's resident DJs Stranger Candy and Syl-O set a high standard for electronic dance music, and they always know how to keep the people on their feet. The weekly ESP 101 Learn to Believe parties are the spot for those in the know. less...

Best album BOA Award Winner

Anatomy of the Image
Lyonnais presents the perfect mystery. The group’s members are scattered throughout Los Angeles, Atlanta, and London. Sometimes they go for more than a year without playing a show. It would be completely reasonable to believe that TJ Blake, Farbod Kokabi, Farzad Moghaddam, and Lee Tesche had gone theirmore...
Lyonnais presents the perfect mystery. The group’s members are scattered throughout Los Angeles, Atlanta, and London. Sometimes they go for more than a year without playing a show. It would be completely reasonable to believe that TJ Blake, Farbod Kokabi, Farzad Moghaddam, and Lee Tesche had gone their separate ways. Yet the arrival of their second album, ANATOMY OF THE IMAGE, proves that distance equals beautiful music. Anatomy of the Image exists outside of time and out of place. Songs such as “Vienna Circles,” “Pan Am Sun Isles,” and “Hyperblues” teem with the kind of darkness, old-school post-punk, and industrial textures that could’ve landed the group on stages with Joy Division and the Durutti Column in the late ’70s. Each song reaps the rewards of four years spent in production, and it’s a reminder that greatness cannot be rushed. www.geographicnorth.bandcamp.com/album/anatomy-of-the-image-3. less...

Best DJ lineup on Edgewood BOA Award Winner

Dark basement venue THE MUSIC ROOM boasts a solid stage for live music on Edgewood Avenue. R&B and soul music take over the club for Thursday’s Muddy Waters Live on Edgewood nights. But every night after 10 the Music Room claims the throne as Atlanta’s leader in cutting edge house music withmore...
Dark basement venue THE MUSIC ROOM boasts a solid stage for live music on Edgewood Avenue. R&B and soul music take over the club for Thursday’s Muddy Waters Live on Edgewood nights. But every night after 10 the Music Room claims the throne as Atlanta’s leader in cutting edge house music with a 2016 roster of resident DJs including Mike Zarin, Ramon Rawsoul, Treasure Fingers, and Bobi Stevkovski. DJ Kemit breaks the mold a bit with a blend of old-school hip-hop, soulful house, and funk, and WHINE, the WERC crew’s monthly celebration of global riddims are world class. less...

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