Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Get out (of the house)!

It's fall, y'all

Now is the time to get outside people! The weather is supposed to be excellent this weekend and there are several festivalish (yes, I speak my own language, Stephanese) events going on around town. So, go, leave the house, leave the computer, and see what this city has to offer. Here are just a few ideas:

Taste of Atlanta – Saturday and Sunday, October 23-24, at Technology Square (intersection of 5th and Spring)
In addition to the normal food fare, there will also be a village showcasing the local sustainable movement with a local farmers’ market as well. Tickets are a little steep ($25 in advance, $30 at the event) but that does get you 15 Taste coupons to use at any of the various restaurant tents.

Candler Park Fall Fest – Saturday and Sunday, October 23-24, at Candler Park
There is a 5K race Saturday morning at 11:00 am before the festival begins at noon. The ever popular Tour of Homes runs from noon-6 pm on Sunday. The festival is free but the Tour of Homes will cost you $12 in advance or $15 on Sunday. I highly recommend the Tour of Homes if you can spare the cash. I’ve never been disappointed.

Dunwoody Music Festival – Saturday and Sunday, October 23-24, at Brook Run Park
There is a chili cook-off from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm on Saturday. On Sunday, there will be a battle of the bands and a classic car show, both beginning at noon. There will also be fireworks Saturday night (so be prepared if you live in the area). Regular tickets range from $10-$15 (including both one and two day passes) with other special pricing deals for adults/children, etc.

I’m sure there is a lot more going on in the city this weekend so feel free to let us know what you’re going to be doing while the weather is warm (but not too warm).

Atlanta Streets Alive – Again

ASA fall posterIf you missed it (or had a great time at) the first one, there’s another chance to stroll the center city at Atlanta Streets Alive tomorrow, October 17.

The 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. time slot is the same as in May, but the street closures are a little less ambitious this time. Activities will be centered on Woodruff Park and Hurt Park, and along Edgewood Avenue between Peachtree and Raldolph Streets. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition-led bike loop is back too, this time at 4.4 miles.

Even if you’re not into biking, skating, jumping, hula hooping, drumming or dancing, ASA will be a chance to sample the wares from several Atlanta Street Food Coalition members’ food trucks, with plenty of ensembles providing music to eat by. And all on a day when the high is expected to be around 75, rather than 95. Can’t beat that.

Strut on down…

The East Atlanta Strut is this Saturday, September 18, 2010, from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. in the East Atlanta Village, natch. There is music all day, an artists’ market, an area for the kiddies and much more. It’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend so get out and enjoy the city. Parking will be scarce so take full advantage of public transport. However, if you must drive, check out their handy-dandy map for parking options, to avoid being ticketed or booted.

I, for one, will be in Athens cheering the Dawgs to victory over Arkansas, but I encourage everyone to check out the Strut because it is always a good time.

Reading the paper

Most mornings I sit down in front of a computer screen and have an entirely unproductive 20 minutes while the coffee is steeping and getting cold. Then the day is peppered with emails and tweets and newsflashes and blog checkings, all of which are definitely 100% work-related. Still, though, I’m surely missing something – I’m just curious to see if there’s a good source of information for Atlanta culture and goings on.  What blogs should I be paying more attention to?  Is there a google calendar someone put together floating around out there? Does your friend have a hilarious weekly email that he sends to 30 people?  Where do you guys get your Atlanta-based intel? I’ll go first.

I love Scoutmob, like Thrillist (as a stingy female I’m not their primary demographic), and read Creative Loafing blogs and features pretty religiously for things to do/buy and cheap places to eat.  I read CL’s Omnivore blog (love Cliff) and actually go to the AJC for John Kessler’s food column.  For business news I turn to the Atlanta Business Chronicle and Global Atlanta, for Georgia politics I skim Peach Pundit, and I click through Paste Magazine for music and various culture (not Atlanta-specific but based here and such an awesome publication). For neighborhood news I’m on a listserv or two (I think most of the intown neighborhoods have these) and look to the EAV Buzz as well.

What say you guys?

Anchors Aweigh

In my continued quest to find free and/or cheap but interesting things to do around town, I bring you free music (for those of you willing to travel a little OTP).

The United States Navy Band will be performing a free concert at Kennesaw State University’s Bailey Performance Center on Wednesday, March 24 at 8:00 pm. It is free to attend but tickets are required from the box office.

It’s probably the closest we’ll ever get to Fleet Week in this ‘burg.

an album i took way too long getting around to.

one heck of an album

one heck of an album

i have loved atlanta-based indie rockers manhcester orchestra for years. i bought their ep when it was only available on itunes. i think rich over at cable and tweed probably first turned me on to them when he posted his mix tapes of atlanta music.

i’ve seen them a bunch of times, inlcluding one memorable show that began at the now-defunct 545 and finished (after an intervening police raid of aforementioned 545) at the masquerade.

i’m like a virgin losing a child was probably my favorite album of 2008.

you could say i am a fan.

which is why i don’t understand why it took my until the last week of 2009 to finally buy their follow-up album “mean everything to nothing.”

maybe i just didn’t like my local rockers becoming big, getting on a label and being played by 99x. maybe i was scared that andy hull, the frontman, wouldn’t be able to pull off another songwriting triumph like the firs full length lp.

anyway, i finally got it and it’s incredible. it would compete only with the airborne toxic event album for the best album i bought in 2009. if you liked the first album, or just live good solid indie rock with some incredible songwriting, it is definitely one to get.

no idea why they weren’t up on the stage with a twirling pink, the zac brown band and taylor swift last night.

now, how about a local show, guys?

a random night of music.

travel by train at the earl

travel by train at the earl

one of the activities i forget i love so much until i do it again, is to decide on a whim to go see a local band playing at one of atlanta’s eclectic music venues. it’s been a while since i have done this, but on saturday night, i found myself drinking a cup of tea in joe’s coffee shop in east atlanta and chatting with a few people i know.

one of the had noted on facebook earlier that they might try to go see a show at the earl. i asked him about the band and he knew almost nothing about it, but well, we were right down the street, AND if you want to go see some random live music there really is no better place than the earl (see paulie’s great review on the metblog here.) the $7 cover sealed the deal for us and off we went.

we missed the opening bands, but we did catch the headliner, a local combo called travel by train. hard to completely describe their music, a soft combination of rock and soul, i guess. immense talent is on display however.

kelly taylor, who fronts that band, has an amazing voice that had to be heard to be believed and the lead guitarist is very talented as well.

i am going to be keep my eye on travel by train and heading out to see them when i can. and all because we decided on a whim to go see some music.

i need to do this more often. after all, i can walk to the earl.

go see the beggar’s guild. tonight.

my favorite atlanta-based rock band is not one of those trendy indie bands. you won’t see their name painted on the krog street underpass or read about them in paste. yes, our city has plenty of those and many are very good, but my favorite atlanta band has to be roots rock combo the beggar’s guild (web facebook myspace).

i love these guys because they play tight, well written rock songs about all the great rock themes. the music is catchy and fun and they are pretty incredible musicians. i have been to see them live many times and never left after a bad time. they also happen to be pretty decent dudes, the kind of musicians you want to support. even if drummer jon chalden is a cardinals fan. seriously it’s good enough to get me to overcome that objection.

anyway, the guys are playing tonight at smith’s in support of sam thacker and his cd release. i don’t know sam thacker at all, but i can tell you this, if the guys in the beggar’s guild are playing with him, he’s probably pretty good.

so go check ’em out.

tickets $10 advance until 2pm today on ticket alternative, or $12 at the door.

Atlanta Music Venues — Variety Playhouse

For this week’s venue I’ll venture a few miles up Moreland Avenue from my East Atlanta neighborhood to Little 5 Points.

Without doubt my favorite music venue in L5P is the Variety Playhouse. For some reason my photostream over at Flickr doesn’t contain an image of the Variety Playhouse’s iconic marquee. However, I do have one of the inexplicably narrow door which is in the rear of the building:
Skinny door at the back of Variety Playhouse
(image used by permission)

The building which houses the Variety Playhouse started its life in 1940 as a movie theater; the theater occupied the space until the early 1960’s. For more than twenty years the building was not used for any sort of performances until it was resurrected as a performance space in the mid-1980’s. It wasn’t until the early 1990’s that Variety Playhouse gained its foothold as one of Atlanta’s better music venues. Remnants of Variety’s days as a movie / theatrical venue remain as the space contains a slanted main floor and what best can be described as “vintage movie theater” seating in the middle of the lower space as well as in the balcony. The seating is surrounded by fairly generous standing room areas including a patch of cement nearest the stage.

Because of the quality of the sound within Variety Playhouse as well as the size of the venue, it’s ideal for bands who come through Atlanta and are either too “big” to play in bars or are not “big enough” to warrant playing in the city’s largest venues such as Philips Arena or the Georgia Dome.

    What I Like

  • The sound is usually loud, but is mixed well and sounds great.
  • Smoking is not allowed inside.
  • Because of the standing-room locations if you get there early enough and you can almost guarantee a good place to see the show.
  • It has three bars and all are located away from the music area. This keeps the “bar noise” down to a minimum.
  • Shows rarely start at a late hour.
  • Prices for shows are generally reasonable, and Variety Playhouse offers an online ticket purchasing option which is far better than Ticketmaster’s.
    What I Dislike

  • Parking/Traffic can be somewhat of a bother. I don’t much care for the parking lot behind the Variety Playhouse.
  • People tend to talk a lot during shows (SHUT UP, PEOPLE. YOU ARE SUPPOSEDLY THERE TO HEAR MUSIC) and while the music is loud it can’t drown them out.

Address : 1099 Euclid Av, Atlanta, GA, 30307
Capacity1 : Seated 750, General Admission 400-1050
Cameras Allowed? : Yes
Smoking Allowed? : No, smoking areas are provided outdoors
All Ages? : Yes (at least to the best of my knowlege)
Ticket Source : Ticketmaster, Variety Playhouse’s website, or at the Variety Playhouse’s ticket booth
Favorite Shows I’ve Seen Here : Bob Mould, Built To Spill, Manchester Orchestra, New Pornographers, Alejandro Escovedo, Steven Malkmus and the Jicks, Cracker, Dead Confederate

What’s your opinion of the Variety Playhouse?


Sources
1: Wikipedia’s Variety Playhouse page

Atlanta Music Venues — The EARL

Welcome to the first of what I hope will be a running series of posts I write about Atlanta’s music venues. These will not be in any particular order and who knows, maybe every once in a while I’ll dip back and post about a venue that is no longer in business.

This week I will choose the venue which has probably gotten more of my money than any others since I moved to Atlanta in January, 1995 — The EARL.

I moved to East Atlanta in March, 1999 and a handful of months after that The EARL, which actually stands for East Atlanta Restaurant and Lounge, opened its doors for business. From the building’s front you’d never know that this bar contained a great little music room that has seen the likes of many “big name” acts.

If the three rules of real estate are “1) Location 2) Location 3) Location” then the three rules of concert venues should be “1) Act Booking 2) Act Booking 3) Act Booking.” Let’s be honest, you can create a great music venue, but if you don’t book acts that people want to come and see/hear you are missing the point. For almost ten years The EARL’s bookings have been stellar.

As an added bonus The EARL serves up some of the best bar food in town. Show up early for a show (which, be forewarned rarely starts before 9pm weeknight and 10pm weekend at The EARL) and eat.

    What I Like

  • The sound is usually loud, but is mixed well and sounds great. Earplugs are for sale from a gumball machine if you want protection from the loudness.
  • There really is no bad seat in the room, in fact there are almost no seats in the room.
  • There is a back bar which makes it easy to keep your drink on while continuing to hear the music.
  • Shows start late.
  • Prices for shows at The EARL are usually in the $10-$20 range.
    What I Dislike

  • Low ceilings and many smokers — I call The EARL “The Home of the ‘Two Pack Minimum'”
  • The bathrooms in the music room are usually nasty.
  • Shows start late. (My post, I can both Like and Dislike this.)

Address : 468 Flat Shoals Av, Atlanta, GA, 30316
Capacity1 : ~300
Cameras Allowed? : Yes
Smoking Allowed? : Yes, although rarely shows are “Smoke Free”
All Ages? : No, 21+
Ticket Source : Ticket Alternative or at the door on the night of a given show
Favorite Shows I’ve Seen : Bob Mould, Alejandro Escovedo, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Dick Dale, Meat Puppets, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, The Hold Steady, The Long Ryders

What’s your opinion of The EARL?


Sources:
1: jomolo.net

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