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