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After Dark

To truly understand a society, one needs look no further than what’s happening in pop culture. In Atlanta, wokeness, for lack of a better term, is the underlying theme driving anything and everything that has to do with the city’s nightlife and musical communities. But the political agendas, the sense of strife, righteousness, resistance, and the passionate debate that’s clogging up social media channels and organizing in the form of protest marches would be for not if it weren’t for the quality, strength and diversity that’s brewing in the music scene.

Evolution and revolution are constantly at work in the city that’s still too busy to hate. Nowhere is that more clearly on display than with the new crop of young, progressive and mobilized artists who have carved out their own pieces of real estate within Atlanta’s creative communities, and started building upon the city’s already deep legacy of hip-hop, punk rock, roots music and dance floor odysseys. ATLiens, it seems, are at their best when they’re under duress. The gentrifying face of the city, coupled with the tumultuous tone of American politics, came home to roost in 2017. The natives are restless, and they’ve responded with fortitude, channeling the fear, elation, anxiety and joy into a music and nightlife scene that’s as hard as the world we live in. Amen to that.

— Chad Radford, CL Music Editor


Featured



Best artist to humanize the struggle BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Critics
Donald Glover
Whether you preferred his work as DONALD GLOVER or Childish Gambino, no one put on for Atlanta quite like the 33-year-old Stone Mountain native. As writer, producer and actor Donald Glover won Golden Globes for his contributions to the runaway FX hit show "Atlanta." While accepting one of the two awardsmore...
Whether you preferred his work as DONALD GLOVER or Childish Gambino, no one put on for Atlanta quite like the 33-year-old Stone Mountain native. As writer, producer and actor Donald Glover won Golden Globes for his contributions to the runaway FX hit show "Atlanta." While accepting one of the two awards on the night „ Glover himself won the category of Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy, while the show itself took home the honor of Best TV Series Musical or Comedy „ he was also able to serve as Migos promo man of the year while springing what was already the biggest Atlanta hit in recent memory to an even broader audience. For most, that would be enough, but let's not forget he also released what many consider his best Childish Gambino project with Awaken, My Love! Glover had a massive year by any standard, and he made sure that as his star rose, his city followed. www.facebook.com/donaldglover. less...

Best songwriter BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Critics
Faye Webster
FAYE WEBSTER possesses the kind of singular musical talent that comes along only so often in life. A songwriter with a capital "S," Webster knows the power of crafting lyrics from just a few words that are benign at a glance, but every subtle nuance lingers in the subconscious mind long after the songmore...
FAYE WEBSTER possesses the kind of singular musical talent that comes along only so often in life. A songwriter with a capital "S," Webster knows the power of crafting lyrics from just a few words that are benign at a glance, but every subtle nuance lingers in the subconscious mind long after the song is over „ each word meaning something different to anyone within earshot. For proof, look no further than songs such as "She Won't Go Away," "Say It Now" and "It Doesn't Work Like That" from her self-titled sophomore album, released this year via Awful Records. And while an underground hip-hop label seems an unlikely home for Webster's laid-back country and folk numbers, placing her sound palette and her swelling heart croon „ a discomfiting mix of secret seduction and rye humor „ alongside such left field hip-hop acts as Ethereal and Lord Narf only places her poetic allusions to politics, both personal and social, in a modern context. Webster breaks the mold of singer-songwriter tropes by paying respect to her craft while boldly reaching beyond the social and musical trappings of her natural musical genre's history and constructs. www.fayewebster.com. less...

Best gangster and a gentleman award BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Critics
21 Savage
The 21 SAVAGE glo-up is real. In 2015, 21 was rapping gritty bio-tales about whipping work in Givenchy threads. Fast-forward to 2017 and he's laid up on a private jet with Amber Rose in matching Space Jam hoodies. Hey, even Slaughter Gang has to have a soft spot, right? Not only did the East Atlantamore...
The 21 SAVAGE glo-up is real. In 2015, 21 was rapping gritty bio-tales about whipping work in Givenchy threads. Fast-forward to 2017 and he's laid up on a private jet with Amber Rose in matching Space Jam hoodies. Hey, even Slaughter Gang has to have a soft spot, right? Not only did the East Atlanta native let back the curtain on his personal life, but with his debut album, ISSA, he revealed a social awareness many early critics assumed didn't exist. On "Nothin New," a stand-out from the project, he provides an expert's take on the crippling anxieties affecting communities like his across the United States, providing a rather nuanced thought from an artist whom too often is written off as shallow. www.21savage.com. less...

Best record label BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Critics
DKA Records
Since its conception and growth out of the seasonal Sisters of Turkey Goth Danse Parties, DKA RECORDS has used its platform as a home for music to suit those who feel ostracized and who dwell in the shadows „ those who grow tired of stand-around rock shows, but who are also weary of mainstream musicalmore...
Since its conception and growth out of the seasonal Sisters of Turkey Goth Danse Parties, DKA RECORDS has used its platform as a home for music to suit those who feel ostracized and who dwell in the shadows „ those who grow tired of stand-around rock shows, but who are also weary of mainstream musical gatherings with no fog machine clouds in which to dance away their woes. Founded in 2013 by friends and DJs Chris Daresta (Anticipation), James Andrew Ford (Tifaret) and Matt Weiner (TWINS), DKA has released artists from around the world, from Northampton, Massachusetts' cold wave duo Boy Harsher to Brisbane, Australia's EBM innovator Multiple Man. The label's most recent addition, Berlin-based Sally Dige, puts a fine point on the group's modern take on goth and industrial-flavored synth pop. Dige's Holding On LP comes on the heels of the label finalizing a deal with Omnian Music Group for distribution. This gives Daresta, Ford and Weiner more time to focus on their own music and further expansion as they curate more sounds within the tiers of goth, dark electronic, industrial, electro-post-punk and EBM. www.dkarecords.bandcamp.com. less...

Best listening room for the sophisticated rocker BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Picked By » Critics
Type of Award » After Dark
Vista Room
Step inside THE VISTA ROOM and it's as though the air changes shape. The wood on the walls, the tables, the stage and the building itself feel as though they've been expertly crafted to serve the impeccable sound system. Standing adjacent to Napoleon's Grill, a gastro pub in Decatur's Oak Grove neighborhood,more...
Step inside THE VISTA ROOM and it's as though the air changes shape. The wood on the walls, the tables, the stage and the building itself feel as though they've been expertly crafted to serve the impeccable sound system. Standing adjacent to Napoleon's Grill, a gastro pub in Decatur's Oak Grove neighborhood, the Vista Room has hosted performances by everyone from Col. Bruce Hampton and the Swimming Pool Q's to Glenn Phillips, the reunited Hydra and Drivin' N Cryin', just to name a few. There's plenty of prog rock, bluegrass, country, folk and straight up rock 'n' roll occupying the stage throughout the week. The underlying theme tying it all together is called experience. The room is the fruit of Sean Keenan and Mike Rizzi's labors. Keenan is a restaurant entrepreneur, and drummer Rizzi (Five Eight) is a long-standing Georgia music veteran who's played in just about every musical environment one can imagine. With the Vista Room they've channeled the highs and lows of life on the road and an unending devotion to music into a comfortable and perfectly calibrated listening room that's all about bolstering the music, for the artists and for the audience. 2836 LaVista Road, Decatur. 404-321-5000. www.thevistaroom.com. less...

Best local punk act BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Readers
Black Lips

Best local classical music BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Readers
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Best local electronic act BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Readers
Ralph & Louie

Best concert venue BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Readers
Tabernacle

Best place to hear Best local music BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Readers
The Earl

Best outdoor music venue BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Readers
Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park

Best band to turn up and drown out current national politics BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Critics
Art School Jocks
No, nobody should ignore the sinking ship that is the Trump presidency. But sometimes coming up for air, in the form of catchy protest pop (post-)punk, is what's needed to continue forging ahead. That's where ART SCHOOL JOCKS come in. With a well-crafted eponymous EP released in June via Father/Daughtermore...

No, nobody should ignore the sinking ship that is the Trump presidency. But sometimes coming up for air, in the form of catchy protest pop (post-)punk, is what's needed to continue forging ahead. That's where ART SCHOOL JOCKS come in. With a well-crafted eponymous EP released in June via Father/Daughter Records, the foursome of scene veterans combines various influences (post-punk, Britpop, emo) with socially aware lyrics. Hit 'Just a Gwen, which garnered the group national attention via NPR, Stereogum and Mother Jones, explores and denounces the dark irony of victim-blaming culture Ñ don't dress that way, watch your drink Ñ around sexual harassment and assault. This music is the perfect salve for these hard times. www.artschooljocks.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best local promoter BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Critics
Zero Mile
Over the last few years, Atlanta has witnessed a dramatic spike in the quantity and quality of music being booked across the board. From corporate behemoths to DIY guys booking smaller rooms, competition among promoters is thick. When the management and promotions teams behind Terminal West (led by Scottmore...
Over the last few years, Atlanta has witnessed a dramatic spike in the quantity and quality of music being booked across the board. From corporate behemoths to DIY guys booking smaller rooms, competition among promoters is thick. When the management and promotions teams behind Terminal West (led by Scott Orvold and Alan Sher) and Agon Entertainment announced they'd partnered to launch ZERO MILE, the new organization took over booking for Athens' Georgia Theatre, and Atlanta's Variety Playhouse and Terminal West, while working with other venues, as well. Working together, Zero Mile put into place a network that allowed for all three venues to flourish together as a viable independent operation. Since May, Zero Mile has booked everyone from Waka Flocka Flame to Gillian Welch, tackling a broad range of musical terrain. Zero Mile will also oversee booking and promotion for the music venue being built as part of the upcoming Atlanta Dairies development on Memorial Drive. As Atlanta continues its dominance as one of the most vibrant cities in the Southeast, Zero Mile's ingenuity and dedication to building from the ground up has positioned the organization as a major player, primed for expansion and growth as a leader of Georgia music. www.zeromile.com. less...

Best trap music ambassadors BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Critics
Migos
Are MIGOS really bigger than the Beatles? No. But Offset, Quavo and Takeoff are the de facto leaders of the new school. The album Culture received a massive boost by the success of "Bad and Boujee," and has since seen "T-Shirt" and the Gucci Mane-aided "Slippery" gain steam as legitimate mainstream hits.more...
Are MIGOS really bigger than the Beatles? No. But Offset, Quavo and Takeoff are the de facto leaders of the new school. The album Culture received a massive boost by the success of "Bad and Boujee," and has since seen "T-Shirt" and the Gucci Mane-aided "Slippery" gain steam as legitimate mainstream hits. The group's style of call-and-response ad-libs reminiscent of '50s era doo-wop groups have both innovated and redefined how melody is used in hip-hop across the board. A lot of young artists are direct descendants of the style that the Northside trio has been cultivating for years now, and the broader music world has finally taken notice. www.migosonline.com. less...

Best instrumentalist BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Critics
Marquinn "Quinn" Masonry
On any given night of the week, MARQUINN "QUINN" MASONRY can be found playing music from Gallery 992 (his regular spot) and Aisle 5 to the wilds of the Atlanta Beltline, sputtering and blowing into an alto saxophone. Be it with the Convergence, the Wolfpack, Konda, Leo Project, Charolastra or some othermore...

On any given night of the week, MARQUINN "QUINN" MASONRY can be found playing music from Gallery 992 (his regular spot) and Aisle 5 to the wilds of the Atlanta Beltline, sputtering and blowing into an alto saxophone. Be it with the Convergence, the Wolfpack, Konda, Leo Project, Charolastra or some other spontaneously formed ensemble, Masonry is a tempestuous player looming over Atlanta's free jazz and improvised music scene. He's a MVP for anyone who's paying attention; the kind of player who doesn't have to show up for practice and still nail his performance every time. Masonry's thoughtful yet emotional performances pack in variety and passion, enough to transfix anyone within earshot, and his influence can be discerned not only in the work of his Best local music compatriots, but further afield via such icon musicians as Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Sonny Stitt and John Coltrane. Even when he's between parts, quietly listening to the rest of the musicians on stage, waiting for his cue, Masonry is dialed into his own wavelength. He lives the music he plays, and it's his sense of intuition that guides his music and leaves an impression on his fellow performers and anyone who has gathered to take in his presence.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best band sticking to its guns BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » After Dark
Picked By » Critics
Biters
BITERS tirelessly chase rock stardom in a world that doesn't know how much it needs rock stars. Even when mainstream rock music had a cleaner bill of health, the journey to the top was often fast-tracked by creative and aesthetic compromises. Fortunately, Biters aren't about to take a single shortcut.more...
BITERS tirelessly chase rock stardom in a world that doesn't know how much it needs rock stars. Even when mainstream rock music had a cleaner bill of health, the journey to the top was often fast-tracked by creative and aesthetic compromises. Fortunately, Biters aren't about to take a single shortcut. The band's dedication to classic punk and rock 'n' roll sounds is steadfast, so don't expect to ever hear singer Tuk Smith rap over artificial beats. They're never ditching the denim and leather or changing hairstyles, either. Each member is too dedicated to a look, a sound and a lifestyle to never sell out. www.bitersband.com. less...
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