The Masquerade’s Purgatory stage, which smells of old antiques and is dimly lit with gothic chandeliers, is an incredibly intimate location for a concert. The Masquerade is located in downtown Atlanta near the capitol building and Five Points, which makes it pretty easy to locate. Grafitti decorates the entire way there and even the parking deck. The walk from the parking deck down to where the stage is located is full of dimly lit brick walls and brick arched entryways.
The Masquerade has been around since 1989 and has recently moved from their old location, which is the feature image of this post. It’s housed artists such as Nirvana and Radiohead, so it’s a fairly reputable venue for a concert to be held. The Masquerade holds about 500 shows per year, ranging from popular bands to smaller bands.
My friend and I got there about thirty minutes early and observed their security team check bags, pockets and jackets to make sure everyone would be safe during the concert.
All of the staff members were incredibly friendly and were all working hard to make sure that it turned out to be a fun and safe night for everyone. They even continuously walked by double and triple checking to make sure everyone was okay and excited for the night to start as we waited for the doors to open. The Purgatory stage is only one of their three stages; the other two stages are named Heaven and Hell. The stages can hold as many as 1,000 people.
Walking into the Purgatory stage felt like walking into another dimension. From the brick and glass doors we had seen outside, inside was all black with fake candles and antique-looking lightbulbs strung from the ceiling. We all shoved our way to the stage, getting as close as humanly possible to where the musicians would soon stand. The first act came out, a small Atlanta-based artist called I The Victor. As they played, it became apparent that all of the musicians and staff acted as though they were a family. The musicians would ask us to give a round of a applause to staff members for working so hard at putting all of this together and even asked us to buy one of the staff a drink since it was his birthday. I have been to two previous concerts in my life yet this concert reverberated so much positive energy from every single person.
The next act was a rapper from Texas named De’Wayne Jackson. He got personal with the crowd by telling us his hardships he’s gone through and how he took a chance by moving from Texas to LA. He told us how our society is going through a lot of hardships and that we need to band together to keep an open mind and open heart. It was an incredibly positive and personal experience while he was onstage. While he performed, we could see the staff hard at work making sure everything was perfect. They were bringing water bottles to the performers onstage, taking photos and videos, attending the merchandise booths and helping people find the bathrooms. Most importantly, we could see a man upstairs controlling the lights for each performer, making the concert experience even cooler.
During the time it took to switch acts, the gothic chandeliers would turn back on, allowing us to see the room better. Posters of bands and singers that most likely played at The Masquerade encased the walls around us. There was a small digital clock near the stage where Pac-Man and some ghosts would run across from time to time. In the back of the room were two merchandise booths for all of the acts and the exit door. To the right of the stage was the bar, which was always being attended. Staff stood by the walls and doors, ready to help on a moments notice. It was truly a fantastic venue for a concert.
The last artist to perform before the main act came out was a band called Chapel. While we all came for the main act, each artist that performed leading up to it were all incredibly friendly, energetic, and involved. When I say involved, I mean that every single act told us to either sing along with them or dance like crazy with them or even repeat Vine references with them. Thanks to being in such a small room with a small set made it easy for the musicians to interact with us personally and made it an even better experience.
Finally, the main act came one: a rock band called Set It Off. The singer, Cody Carson, crowd surfed about five separate times and was able to do it safely, thanks to the diligent staff members. I didn’t know the band very well but quickly learned that they’re all incredibly positive souls that encouraged everyone to be their true and raw selves and to spread positivity in that room and in the world. It was a great band to witness live. After losing our hearing to the concert and screaming our lungs out for an encore, we all filed out of the room. We met with the opening acts and expressed how much we enjoyed them and even got some photos. Surprisingly, getting out of the Purgatory stage wasn’t hectic or full of pushing people out of the way. It was calm and quick and, before we realized it, we were outside and ready to go home.
This was my first time attending a concert at The Masquerade and after experiencing this, it definitely will not be my last concert. It was a personal, safe, energetic, positive, and fun experience that I would recommend to any concert lover. It’s actually pretty difficult to find anything bad about it.