Monday, July 18, 2005

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Underground Atlanta: Free Weezer Show

The following will be a scathing review.

i have lived in ATL for seven years of summer concert series. in the early years, there was no organized “Free Friday Night” concert thing…. but, everyone and their mom toured through a-town. Tom Petty. John Mayer. Black Crowes. Pearl Jam. Beastie Boys. these groups made those summers where i was scrounging for work and money worth it.... i just diverted marijuana funds to concert funds and it all worked out well.

i also remember when 99x was hosting a free summer concert series called 99x: On The Bricks. centennial park was the venue and there was ample room for all enthusiasts to sit on the lawn, rush the stage, or even play with their kids in the fountain while hearing blues traveler belt out those sick harmonica notes. it lasted 2 months, 8 shows, probably 30ish bands.

i even remember when 96 Rock and 99x had so much money to burn that they BOTH decided to throw Free Friday Night concert series. One was hosted on the bricks and the other was located about half a block down in a shanty parking lot full of rednecks. the On the Bricks series was lighter, hosting bands like Sheryl Crow and The Rembrandts. 96 Rock was bringing in crazy Cowboy Mouth and Foo Fighters. you actually had options on what free concert you wanted to attend, if not a bit of both.

this summer, none of the radio stations were going to run free concerts. i guess the coca cola well of money-love dried up and the stations decided it was not worth taking the expense of hiring mad booking to book the bands and venues with no guarantee of profit. then, about a month ago, 99x announced they would in fact be hosting the Summer concert series again.... just a different venue.

The venue is Underground Atlanta. until this weekend, i had never stepped foot in this little mall that is constructed out of an old train station. all i knew was that plenty of black dudes hung out there and robbed other black dudes. i read an article about the refurbishing of U-ATL (probably the 5th time in the past decade)... adding cops, newer stores, and of course theme bars which i wrote about back in the day. so it was with the most positive outlook that i approached friday's weezer concert, and i walked away knowing that i would never ever ever EVER step foot there again.

First off, let me just say that there was nothing wrong with the weez itself. how could they have known what they were getting into. also, on a side note, i cant stand going to a concert where the majority of people are there just to be there, to be seen. this seems to be overwhelmingly apparent at these free concert things. but honestly how do people not know the lyrics to "Say it aint So"? what the fuck are you even doing there you dumb fucker?!

Which leads me into why i will never step foot in U-ATL ever again. 20,000 people. 4 exits/entrances. 4 beer stands. 0 police. not only was there no traffic control of any kind, but the entire concert was a giant fucking bottleneck. when we decided to wedge our way into the crowd, we got further than most who tried.... probably a good 400 feet back from the stage before we were completely stuck with no direction to go. when we smoked our j's, there were so many scavengers i felt like i was a ruth's chris steak thrown in the shark tank.

i was left with so many questions: Who's brilliant idea was it to host a free concert in an alley? Why could 99x not secure a better locale? How can ATL ever expect Underground to ever work out if they do stupid shit like this? why was there a feeling of no police presence? what happens to the girls that get dragged out of the depths of the crowd who cant even open their eyes, let alone walk on 2 feet? how is it possible that i saw 10 people i knew when there were 20,000 there? and last but certainly not least, are there 20,000 Ben Folds Five fans in ATL too? (god i hope not.)

When i heard that weezer was coming for free, i was pissed about buying that $45 ticket a month before to see them at tabernacle. i am so glad i can say it was money well spent, so few things in retrospect seem like a better idea.


At 7/18/2005 10:25 PM, Blogger Amber said...

Wow. Well, now I don't feel so bad about missing it.

At 7/19/2005 2:51 PM, Blogger Michael Memberg said...

Complete fucking debacle. 2 additional comments:
1) Underground did not used to be a train station. Long story short, the old-school ATL city planners lifted up the city and created viaducts for the trains - hence, some streets were "underground."
2) There is a valid reason to go back to U-ATL: Barbecue (sp?) Works. I know it sounds totally unbelievable, but there is an amazing bbq joint in the food court. $6 for more than enough food for this skinny Heeb - and also for those not-so-thin...


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