The 13th annual A3C Festival is about to takeover Atlanta this week from Oct. 3-8, bringing together hundreds of artists, speakers, and performers at dozens of events, conferences, and showcases around the city. Led by one of the all-time greats in Nas, the sheer amount of world-class MCs and emerging talent featured on the lineup is staggering, leaving attendees with only the problem of how they will possibly be able to take it all in. But here’s the thing: on any week where the self-declared “Hip Hop’s Biggest Stage” is in full force, that would seem to be enough to overshadow everything else around it. And perhaps it will in the end. But this week also brings us the bonkers lineup that is Project Pabst Atlanta, not to mention Atlanta Hip Hop Day this weekend at Woodruff Park, both of which will provide some healthy competition.
And it’s not like festivals are the only game in town either. There’s plenty of other can’t-miss shows this week as the list below proves. Still, it’s not often that so much legendary talent descends upon one place at the same time, so take advantage before it’s gone.
Tuesday, October 3
2 Chainz at the Tabernacle (Tue & Wed)
Setting aside the question of where exactly Pretty Girls Like Trap Music falls in the 2 Chainz’s extensive body of work, there’s no denying the LP was one of the most complete and fulfilling of his career. Swinging seamlessly from moments of absurdist hilarity to revelations dark and sobering, Pretty Girls found Tity Boi at his wildest, illuminating best. In a week where hip-hop royalty descends upon Atlanta for A3C, it’s fitting that the reigning king of trap would hold court for two consecutive nights at the Tabernacle. Consider it a kind of opening ceremonies for one the most hectic and tantalizing weeks of live music so far this year. Tonight’s show is sold out, so if you want in on Wednesday, you better move quick. – Avery Shepherd
w/ Young Dolph. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $41.50. All Ages.
Moon Duo at the Drunken Unicorn
Darkness and light, night and day, the moon and the sun, yin and yang — the dichotomy itself is a cliché, but music still winds in hypnotic shapes round the two poles. Moon Duo proved that this year with their sprawling Occult Architecture project, realized in two parts: Volume 1 explored the ebony void and its many shades, while Volume 2 rocketed up to crystalline cities and their otherworldly auras. And even though the two sides both tap uncanny extremes — the former suggests a parallel universe where ZZ Top jammed with Hawkwind, while the latter envisions a convergence of Tangerine Dream with Robert Fripp — both pulse with the same cosmic hum. – Lee Adcock
w/ Birds of Avalon. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $10. All Ages.
Wednesday, October 4
Daikaiju at the Basement
On record, the anonymous force of nature that is Daikaiju play rousing, muscular surf rock of the highest order. On stage, they are a tempest of flailing limbs, reverbed shredding, and literal fire that wield the destructive force of their namesake (Daikaiju is Japanese for “giant monster”). Perhaps their bio sums it best: “Premium action heroes deliver most high rocket attack!!! Special reverb skill for full impact!!! Loud sonic boom for earful pleasure!!!” Cartoonish? For sure. But let that stop you from catching one of the most manic and explosive (pun intended) live bands around. – Guillermo Castro
w/ The Mystery Men?, The Pinx, Zrůda. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $10. 18+ to enter.
The Vibrators at Star Bar
Formed in 1976, the Vibrators were part of the first wave of British punk that spawned the Damned, Sex Pistols, the Clash, Subway Sect, and others. Now, after forty years of recording and performing, the pioneering group is in the U.S. for one final tour meaning this will be your last chance to pump your fists to revved-up rockers like “We Vibrate” and “London Girls.” Don’t miss it. – AS
w/ Rocket 77, Bad Spell. Doors open at 9 p.m. 21+ to enter.
Thursday, October 5
Opio and Pep Love at 529
It feels a bit unfair to single out specific A3C shows considering how deep and extensive the line of showcases and affiliated events run, but when said show involves Opio and Pep Love of the mighty Hieroglyphics crew, you make an exception. The duo returned in full force this year with the launch of a monthly 7″ subscription called The Hierotrope Series, which seeks to marry art, music, and technology. In celebration, the Bay Area legends released two previously unreleased tracks from their 2013 The Fallacy Fantasy sessions that proved the crew is still on top of their game. Featuring performances by the Difference Machine’s Dr. Conspiracy and Day Tripper (aka DT), as well as Savannah’s Dope KNife, this is a lethal lineup that should serve as a fine appetizer to the festival’s main events. – AS
w/ Dope KNife, Day Tripper, Dr. Conspiracy, Snubnose Frankenstein, Darko the Super. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $10. 21+ to enter.
Friday, October 6
After Care at Eyedrum
After Care at Eyedrum
Ever since premiering their dark, moody debut American Sushi Sessions, Atlanta shoegazers After Care have remained relatively quiet, but after revealing a new live studio session from Toast & Jam and announcing their addition to Wrecking Ball ATL’s Small Ball in November, it appears the band is ready to make some (more) noise. You can catch them on Friday at Eyedrum alongside Baltimore doom metal act Corpse Light, as well as fellow shoegazers Absence of Ocean and experimental synth and cello duo Dux. – GC
w/ Corpse Light (MD), Absence of Ocean, Dux. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $5. All Ages.
Saturday, October 7
Project Pabst in EAV
Now in its second year, Project Pabst Atlanta is once again preparing to take over EAV with a stacked lineup of big name headliners and a heaping dose of local love. Led by legendary punk icon Iggy Pop and alt-rock forerunners Dinosaur Jr., the bill also features Odd Future compatriots The Internet and electro-punk badass Peaches, along with an veritable arsenal of Atlanta/Athens talent from diverse corners of the scene. With three stages in constant rotation, the all-day block party also offers the PBRcade, the PBR Vandalism interactive graffiti art display, and much more. – Guillermo Castro
w/ Iggy Pop, Dinosaur Jr., The Internet, Peaches, Watch the Duck, The Coathangers, Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, Gentleman Jesse & His Men, Withered, The Difference Machine, The Powder Room, Illegal Drugs, Glare, DiCaprio, RMBLR, Lord Narf, and Goldyard. Doors open at noon. Admission is $45-55. 21+ to enter.
AC3 Festival: Fool’s Gold DAY OFF at the Georgia Freight Depot
A festival within a festival. Brought to you by the trendsetting Brooklyn label founded by DJs A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs, Fool’s Gold DAY OFF is an annual multi-city music festival making stops in Montreal, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, London and, of course, Atlanta. This year’s event goes down at the Georgia Freight Depot as the kickoff to the A3C Festival and features a bounty of innovative and influential hip-hop and electronic artists led by A-Trak, Rich Homie Quan, Zaytoven, Sonny Digital, Kap G, Kodie Shane, and more. – AS
w/ A-Trak, DJ Drama & Don Cannon, Rich Homie Quan, Zaytoven & Friends, Project Pat, Sonny Digital, Kap G, Kodie Shane, Wifisfuneral, G Herbo, Smino, Chaz French, Divine Council, Michael Christmas, Maxo Kream, Hoodrich Pablo Juan, Derez De’Shon, Yung Simmie, Joe Gifted, Leslaflame, YungBabyTate, ManMan Savage, SpaceJam Bo, Madeaux, Nick Catchdubs, Michael Aristotle, Deante Hitchcock, Jack Harlow, Kittens, Taylor J, DJ OHSO, DJ Ash B. Doors open at 1 p.m. Single day and two-day passes available $46-85. All Ages.
Atlanta Hip Hop Day at Woodruff Park (Sat & Sun)
If you don’t want give up the scratch for 2 Chainz or an A3C Festival Pass, don’t worry — ATL still has your back. The 7th Annual Atlanta Hip Hop Day Festival goes down for free all weekend long paying tribute to the four elements of hip-hop and Atlanta’s contribution to the culture. Held in downtown Atlanta at Robert Woodruff Park, the four sides of the park are dedicated to the four elements of hip hop with B-Boy and B-Girl exhibits, emcee battles, turntablism, and graffiti artists. This year’s lineup is no joke, with Peewee Longway, OJ Da Juiceman, Kilo Ali, Ghetto Mafia, Sean Teezy, and more coming out to rep the A. – AS
w/ Iggy Pop, Dinosaur Jr., The Internet, Peaches, Watch the Duck, The Coathangers, Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, Gentleman Jesse & His Men, Withered, The Difference Machine, The Powder Room, Illegal Drugs, Glare, DiCaprio, RMBLR, Lord Narf, and Goldyard. Doors open at noon. is FREE. All Ages.
Manchester Orchestra at the Tabernacle
I’ll admit it’s been frustrating to read some critics hailing A Black Mile to the Surface as the maturation of Andy Hull and Manchester Orchestra in general. It feels like less to do with the band’s songcraft, which has always been rich and deeply engaging, than with the fact that many acclaimed young artists are citing the group as a core influence (looking at you, Julien Baker). In any case the indie stalwarts are back home and they brought the some fine company with them in the form of scrappy Scranton, PA punks Tigers Jaw and emo rockers Foxing. – GC
w/ Tigers Jaw, Foxing. Doors open at 6 p.m. SOLD OUT. All Ages.
ATL Collective at Venkman’s
For those those of you not in the know, here’s the quick skinny: ATL Collective is a live music series that selects top local talent to cover classic albums. Their slogan is “Discover your new favorite artists while singing your old favorite songs,” which is all you really need to know about the group — kickass musicians covering killer music. And this week the collective has selected a real doozy to perform: Portishead’s darkly sublime trip-hop epic, Dummy. Although the lineup has yet to be announced, special guests, The Deer, will join the Collective to bring the album to life. – GC
Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $20-40. All Ages.
Sunday, October 8
AC3 Festival: Nas at the Georgia Freight Depot
If you can think of anyone better to headline A3C Festival than Nasty Nas, I’d like to hear it. Inarguably one of the great rappers and lyricists of all time, the poetic sage of the Queensbridge projects brings with him a quarter century of sublime storytelling that has resulted in sales in excess of 25 million records worldwide. And he certainly isn’t coming alone. Joining him at the Georgia Freight Depot as a kind of de facto co-headliner is another New York legend, Mr. Tony Starks, aka Ghostface Killah. Then there’s Just Blaze, AZ, Dead Prez, Kool Keith, Masta Ace and list goes on and on. There’s a reason why A3C calls itself “hip hop’s biggest stage,” and this lineup is it. – AS
w/ Ghostface Killah, Just Blaze, AZ, Joyner Lucas, Dead Prez, IDK, Masta Ace, Statik Selektah, SABA, Kirk Knight, Kool Keith, Your Old Droog, Don Flamingo, J.Tek, Dillon, Merkules, KOTA The Friend, Mvstermind, Billy Mercury. Doors open at 1 p.m. Single day and two-day passes available $46-85. All Ages.
Vagabon & Nnamdi Ogbonnaya at the Masquerade
On paper, this seems like an unlikely duo. On one hand, you’ve got Laetitia Tamko, the novice alchemist that wooed heads on Bandcamp and NPR earlier this year with her prismatic approach to songwriting and her fluid, multi-dimensional voice. On the other, you’ve got Nnamdi Ogboyanna, the most underrated overachiever in all of Chicago, and an utterly zany rapper to boot. But dig a little deeper, and their union makes total sense. Both write and talk freely about their complex identities (Tamko grew up in Cameroon and moved to New York, while Ogbonnaya juggles between being Nigerian, American, and Jewish); both scoff at simple genre tags; and both can shake their audience to the core. Of course, bills shouldn’t always follow a logical order, but, after final analysis, these two should deliver a solid show. – LA
w/ COMMAND. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is $12. All Ages.