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Venue of the Month : September



If you are a concert goer and live in Atlanta, chances are you have been to a show at The Masquerade. If you grew up here, we know you have your very own Masquerade story! We want to hear them! This is your chance to win tickets to an upcoming show at The Masquerade.  Leave a comment below telling us your story, funny… scary… awesome… we want to know. Our good pal, Tim Sweetwood who is the man behind the music will let us know which story wins! You have until the end of September, so get to writing!

The Masquerade is our featured venue of the month – September 2011.

The Masquerade has a long history in Atlanta. It was once the old Dupre Excelsior Mill (the actual name as of 1911 was “Du Pree Manufacturing Company Excelsior Factory”) Former excelsior mill located at 695 North Avenue in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia.  The mill may have been built as early as 1890 by DuPre Manufacturing Co (or Du Pree Manufacturing Company as referred to on contemporary maps).

The Post-depression era saw an expansion of the mill in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Unfortunately, after the Second World War, the demand for excelsior was radically reduced.The introduction of foam rubber virtually eliminated the use of excelsior as stuffing material. Even so, the secondary packing material market continued for a short time. By the mid 1960s, the demand for excelsior was gone and the mill operated more as a storage facility than active production facility. In 1977, all the major mills in the Atlanta area shut their doors.

In 1977-1978, the mill was converted over to a pizzeria and barrio. With a Wurlitzer Organ as part of the setting, the Excelsior Mill featured everything from movies to bands to Shakespearian plays over its decade long run, the pizza and barrio house survived until 1989. The Excelsior Mill is fondly remembered by blues fans as the residence in later years of blues legend Willie “Piano Red” Perryman. and an in-house pipe organ.

In September 1989 it became the Masquerade, now a well-known nightclub and concert venue for both indoor and outdoor shows, mostly of alternative music styles such as Metal, Punk Rock, Rockabilly, and Electronic.

Happy Anniversary to The Masquerade! 22 years of music and hopefully many more!

In honor of The Masquerade being our featured venue, we asked Tim Sweetwood a few questions about his dealings with the venue and what is in store in the coming years.

1. When did you get involved with The Masquerade?

I started here in the summer of 2005.  I started just booking local bands and then quickly moved to booking the national acts as well as the local bands.

2. Do you have any found memories of attending the Masquerade when you were younger?

Sure, I snuck in several times, which I don’t encourage anyone to do anymore. I was able to see Radiohead here, and crazy shows like Nirvana opening up for Primus. Good times for sure.

3. What do you see in the future for The Masquerade?

Having the venue continue to evolve and match the music and acts of the time but be able to hold on to bands from the past. The Masquerade is one of the most diverse venues I have ever come across. It is very similar to the way people are fans of music. You can have a metal show upstairs with an indie rock show downstairs, and yet another genre like reggae playing in Purgatory. Don’t knock until you try it.
The Masquerade is one of our favorite venues to work with. Tim is a great promoter and gets some amazing shows in Atlanta for us.  Now if we could just tell the girl at Will Call that TBB is always on the list we would be just fine ;)

TBB congratulates The Masquerade on 22 years and raises our glass to them for many many more!

Enjoy some galleries from our coverage of The Masquerade.  Every photographer in Atlanta with a camera better than a point and shoot, knows The Masquerade is a hard shoot. No flash and hard to navigate photo pits makes it a challenge and one we here at The Backstage Beat welcome.

Summer Slaughterfest[nggallery id=351]

Sublime with Rome[nggallery id=13]

Twilight[nggallery id=257]

The Orkids[nggallery id=195]

Artists to Watch

Cry With Us! Puddles Pity Party in Orlando



Ange Alex

I owe him a poem:

Here’s a story of a sad clown who one night in February was traveling through O-town. 

He brought a suitcase and a lot of gum, he brought music and videos and tons of fun.

He sang high but mostly he sang low, and he put of one hell of a good show.

He gave a bearded guy a cupcake and danced with a lady, a wolf he would make

There is no doubt he is a boss sir, he even got love from Kevin Costner.

Fans filled the plaza for a night of delight as the 7 foot clown gave us some real insight.

He sang Bowie and Queen and even some Who, also Cash, Lorde and “Let it go” too

Videos played of pets and babies crying, also beautiful artwork and people smiling.

Last night Orlando was anything but mad as we showed much love for a clown that is sad.

Ok, I’d cry too after that poem. Here’s some more info:

If you haven’t been to see a Puddles Pity Party show, you are missing out. 

The show had me smiling and laughing so hard my stomach hurt, but I was also moved so many times by the range of Puddles voice. True entertainment never gets old and I have a feeling he is going to last forever.

I loved the interaction he had with the crowd. He pulled numerous people up to help him on stage and all of them were good sports, one man even singing the entire song, “All by myself” karaoke style! The show was so well thought out and planned but with room for some hilarious improv. Especially at the end when he pulled the 3 fans from the audience dressed like clowns. At the end of them performing together, Puddles suddenly remembers that he is scared of clowns! Genius! 

Hands down one of the best performances I’ve seen in years.


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Holiday Fun

Kingsized Holiday Fun! Big Mike is Back at the Variety Playhouse!



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Big Mike Geier and his Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll Orchestra, along with the Dames Aflame Dancers, Lil’ Santa and other special guests, bring tidings of comfort and joy with their signature glitz and glamour in what has become a tinsel-time tradition at the Variety Playhouse. The all-ages 90-minute show features your Holiday favorites by the likes of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Heat Miser, The Grinch and more!

Photo: Emily Butler

We caught up with Big Mike to ask a few questions.

TBB: Big Mike! It’s been a couple years since we had the pleasure of seeing you perform live. We are so excited to be back in Atlanta and we are ready for this show. What can you tell us about this years event?

Big Mike: Welcome back to Atlanta, Ange! We’re also excited to be in town for another wild and wonderful Holiday Jubilee. We like to honor the tradition that the Jubilee has become and don’t mess too much with the format. You can expect the always magnificent sounds of the 12-piece Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll orchestra performing your favorite holiday classics and the dazzling Dames Aflame dancers providing the glamour. The show is all about holiday nostalgia, whatever that means to you: Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Donnie Hathaway, The Grinch, Rankin Bass, Peanuts, the Dreidel Song? It’s all in there.

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Music Gallery

Turkuaz at Aisle 5



Brooklyn based funk band Turkuaz played at Aisle Five in Atlanta last week and here are some shots from the show!

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