After driving around Downtown Atlanta in search for the new Masquerade, I finally spotted a folded sign scribbled with “Masquerade 3rd Floor” outside a parking garage. The exhausting search was finally over— or so I thought. If you enjoy scavenger hunts, finding this new venue will be right up your alley.
The Masquerade is well known by music lovers across the state and was formerly located at DuPre Excelsior Mill until it was sold in 2006. Recently the venue was moved to the lowest level of The Underground Atlanta. The original locations featured three different stages that were named after three destinations in the afterlife— heaven, hell and purgatory. Heaven was above, hell, go figure and purgatory was off to the side. At the new location each of these stages are all on one floor with three different entrances.
After parking on the third floor of a nearly vacant parking garage, more helter-skelter signs are scattered directing me to across a ramp and into The Underground. Right away, visitors are hit with a stench that lets them know they’re in for a good show. I’m almost certain I could have closed my eyes and followed the “aroma” in order to find the venue.
If it weren’t for the two arguing beatnik’s on the stairs, I would have presumed I was walking into a rave in an abandoned building. They explain that at the bottom of the stairs is where I’ll find the entrance.
And there it is! Literally a whole in the wall in the middle of a closed mall. The venue is intimidating at first as the “too cool for school” crowd stumbles outside. I’m barely of age to get in as I look over my ID to check my birthday a few more times. The woman who sells me my ticket couldn’t care less about my age and asks for my wrist. “Purgatory” was then stamped on my wrist, and I feel like I’ve completed gang initiation.
As I take my first steps inside, a mixture of smoke and fog hits my eyes and ears all at once. The stage is small, but intimate. The venue offers great sound and lighting for any up and coming performers in Atlanta.