The Masquerade staying put at Underground Atlanta long term

Posted Friday, October 20, 2017 by RODNEY HO/ on Melissa Ruggieri's AJC Music Scene blog

Melissa is on vacation so I'm helping her out with breaking news:

The Masquerade, the long-time gritty concert venue, has decided to stay put at Underground Atlanta.

Management has signed a long-term lease that will last at least ten years, said talent buyer Greg Green, who has worked at the Masquerade since 1991 when he joined the venue as a bartender and booking agent.

The Underground location had originally been conceived as temporary space when the club moved in last November after failing to secure a location in West Midtown.

Green said he wasn't sure if fans would be open to going to Underground. They were. He said the venue has actually seen more bookings and attendance in the new location in Kenny's Alley, despite the fact much of Underground is still closed under new management.

Positive factors: a great brand name, plentiful parking, easy accessibility to public transportation and a generous pool of Georgia State University students in walking distance, a natural audience for Masquerade-friendly acts.

The concert space originally opened in 1989 on Ponce de Leon Ave. back in the day when the road was more known for street walkers and strip clubs than great food and walkable trails. The Masquerade became home to indie and hard/metal rock but now features a fair share of hip hop, R&B and electronic music acts as well. Heaven, Hell and Purgatory were the three spots in the old converted mill space and those themes remain at Kenny's Alley.

The Masquerade owners sold the land to a developer in 2005 but stayed put  for another 11 years because of the housing crash. Over the past five years, the area has blossomed and much of their old parking space was converted into condos. The developers finally pushed them out last fall. Their old property is being transformed into mixed-use residential since it's right on the now coveted Beltline.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Green said he's thrilled to be in an area that is seeing a renaissance. And he said he can't wait to see what the new developers WRS have in store for the space.

"I like where we landed," he said. "We've enjoyed the whole feel of being downtown. It's kind of a newly emerging community."

Over the past year, acts such as Sevendust, The Damned. Little Dragon and Descendents have performed there. They even held a comedy show with Hannibal Buress in April. Upcoming shows include Theory of a Deadman (October 24), Toadies (October 26), Hum (October 27) and The English Beat (November 1).