There are many reasons why moving to a big city like Atlanta can be exciting for young adults. If you are a music lover, one of those reasons is the multitude of venues scattered around the city. At a school like Tech, students have easy access to downtown Atlanta and, by extension, an abundance of live music.
Several locations are already familiar to most, such as Mercedes-Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena, which serve as concert venues without hosting Atlanta football and basketball games. However, larger venues aren’t the only places to find invigorating live music.
Unlike stadium shows which have layers and layers of seating surrounding a stage in the center, the following venues all have their seats in front of the stage, so no matter where you are, you’ll always have a full view of the performers you’re seeing.
Just a 15-minute drive from Tech — or a seven-minute walk from Georgia State MARTA station — is the Masquerade. The venue is in the lower section of Metro Atlanta known as “Kenny’s Alley”. It was founded in 1989 and is known for its three different interior spaces named Heaven, Hell and following the trend, Purgatory.
The sites surround an open-air courtyard and vary in size, with Purgatory being the smallest with a capacity of 300, Heaven being the largest with a capacity of 1500, and Hell being a size in between.
Over the years, the Masquerade has hosted legendary bands such as Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Nine Inch Nails. Now its stages are filled with bands ranging from ODESZA to Sleeping With Sirens.
The venue is also filled with music festival history. In 1992, the first Warped Tour played the complex and was later followed by the first Imagine Fest and Shaky Knees, both in 2013, and the first Wrecking Ball ATL in 2015.
The environment itself is unique and buzzes with energy, whether you’re on a couch in Purgatory, in the pit in Hell, or enjoying the view from the second floor of Heaven. For fans of alternative, rock, metal, indie, electronic and punk genres, this place is an absolute must.
Driving five minutes south of Tech’s North Avenue apartments you will find The Tabernacle. Located behind the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel and across from Centennial Olympic Park, this venue was opened in 1910 as a Baptist church. It remained as it was until some time in the 1980s when the congregation moved and the building was abandoned. However, the 1996 Olympics transformed it into a thriving live music venue.
The venue has hosted a variety of big names from all genres over its lifetime, including artartists like Prince, Duran Duran and, in recent years, Lizzo, Conan Gray and the Jonas Brothers.
The main concert hall itself has a listed capacity of 2,600 with a ground floor reserved for standing room and three separate seated balconies. All of the areas mentioned above can be accessed by purchasing a general admission ticket, although seating is first come, first served.
Visual reminders of the place’s origins as a church remain in its large stained glass windows, wooden floors, patterned walls and balconies, and the ornate chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
A 15-minute drive from Tech, in the opposite direction of the Masquerade, is the Buckhead Theatre, a former cinema converted into a concert hall. Originally opened in 1931, the venue underwent seven name changes before returning to its current name when it was renovated and reopened in 2010.
The theater has featured notable artists like Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Offspring, but does not function only as a concert hall. Buckhead Theater also hosts a variety of non-musical acts such as comedy specials and theatrical performances; it’s also a popular spot for weddings, corporate luncheons, bat/bar mitzvahs, and other private events.
Built in an elegant Spanish Baroque style, the venue has concrete arches lit by lamps, heavy brown curtains, and an overall rock and roll feel. The theater itself is said to hold around 1,400 people, with a ground floor and an upper balcony. Outside, a large electronic marquee topped with two screens is visible from the street, reminiscent of the illuminated Broadway theaters of Times Square.
One of Atlanta’s newest venues is the Coca-Cola Roxy. It opened in 2017 and is named after one of the Buckhead Theater’s old nicknames – before it reverted to ‘Buckhead Theatre’. A 15-minute drive on I-75 N, just off the freeway, is the 40,000 square foot concert hall. With a listed capacity of just over 2,000 seats, the hall has seen artists of all genres pass,going from Twenty One Pilots to Juice WRLD to Hozier.
Like the Buckhead Theatre, the Coca-Cola Roxy also hosts private events like weddings and corporate parties. The layout includes a ground floor and balcony seating, both of which are ADA wheelchair compliant. Finished hardwood floors and six shimmering chandeliers enhance the ambience of the space, whether you’re there to see BABYMETAL or attend a wedding. Up front, a brightly lit marquee mimics that of his former home at the Buckhead Theatre, illuminating the street late into the night.
Little Five Points is an expressionist neighborhood in Atlanta located 11 minutes from Tech by car. The area itself is covered in brightly colored murals and street art, the perfect hub for alternative subcultures ranging from punks to hippies.
Tucked between Arden’s Garden juice store and Moods Music record store is Aisle 5. In one of Atlanta’s smallest venues, you’re most likely to find indie artists as well as bands owned by “alternative genres”. Artists like The Wrecks, Sasha Sloan and Phoebe Bridgers have all performed there.
Since the venue is much smaller than others, the shows are mostly standing room except for a few bar stools lining the back wall.
Due to its size, however, concerts in Aisle 5 have a more intimate feel, allowing audiences to feel more connected with who they see, no matter where they are in the room.
Although it may not be as well known as other places, don’t count on this one!
Live music is one of the many amazing things the city has to offer, just find a band you like – or even one you’ve never heard of – and have a rock night!