Wrecking Ball ATL has been over for a few days now and I’m still processing the events that took place. Did I really get to see American Football? Would sunblock have prevented my embarrassing farmer’s tan that is starting to peel, thus making me leaving a trail of skin flakes like I’m both Hansel AND Gretel? Did Bradford Cox really yell “Don’t forget that Coca-Cola built this fucking city?” Is the Masquerade really closing down on North Avenue and moving to the Westside?


To all of that.

But there I was making another set of memories at the incomparable Masquerade music venue, a place that has been a staple in this community (and our music-centric hearts) for as long as any of us can remember. I think everyone has a story to tell when it comes to that old, worn-down building. Some tale about a show they played or one they went to, an artist they met or a friend they made. It could be a good experience, or a bad one, but more than likely it features something absolutely amazing, strange, and/or scary that happened on the grounds.

During last week’s Wrecking Ball festivities, I was able to speak with some of the local acts after their sets. I was interested to know who they were excited to see at this year’s festival, but most of all, I wanted to know their favorite memories involving the Masquerade.



Here’s a fun fact: Aside from American Nightmare, local favorites Big Jesus, and Microwave are the only acts to play the Wrecking Ball festival two years in a row. (“Wow, we didn’t know that! That’s awesome!” exclaims bassist Tyler Hill.) I spoke with 3/4th of the emerging post-hardcore rockers (frontman Nathan Hardy dislocated his shoulder during their set) next to a bunch of porta potties and ice trucks that hummed entirely too loud.

Immersive Atlanta: Who are you excited to see and who did you see already?

Timothy (Tito) Pittard: I saw Deafheaven, that was cool. Turnstile was good, too.

Wesley Swanson: Joy Formidable was a life-changing show. The bassist busted his head wide open and they all smashed their instruments. It was insane.

Tyler Hill: Can’t wait for Sorority Noise ’cause they’re our homies. I saw Bayside, Menzingers, that was tight. Actually, I need to look over the lineup. We booked this show so long ago that I don’t even know who’s playing and there’s a whole other DAY left.

TP: I can’t wait to see Cold Cave tonight, too.

IA: What’s your favorite Masquerade memory? It could be a show you went to, a show you played, or something weird that happened afterwords.

TH: The first show I ever saw here was Blink-182, Sum 41, and the Ataris on the Honda Civic Tour in 2000, I believe? But that was a game-changer for me.

TP: I went with my brother and we saw Lamb of God, Black Dahlia Murder, and, I forget who else, but that was one of my first metal shows I ever went to, and it was special ’cause I was with my brother and we love that type of music.

WS: The first show I saw here was The Chariot. I think it was one of the Solid State tours? And they played with August Burns Red, 12 Gauge Valentine, and a few other Solid State bands. And I hadn’t ever seen The Chariot before, and I like their music, but actually seeing them play was incredible. Scogin was hanging from the rafters and climbing on everything — including people — and it blew my mind. I was 17-years-old at the time and it changed my world, honestly.

Abuse of Power

Abuse of Power

I had gotten Abuse of Power frontman Kaleb Perdue’s number on Saturday as we were both leaving Hell and asked if I could hit them up for an interview. I had difficulty reaching him, but, luckily, the next day three of the member were on their way to see Tigers Jaw and I had the chance to ask if the band had a second to talk to us after the performance. Once again, I conducted the interview near “Porta Potty Alley”.

IA: Who are you excited to see?

Kaleb Perdue: Dino Jr, definitely.

Lucky Hunter: I just watched Tigers Jaw and that was awesome. Quicksand’s tonight. American Nightmare would be cool to see… they played last year.

IA: What’s your favorite Masquerade memory?

KP: One of my first shows here was Hatebreed in Heaven. I was 14, and I swore that the floor was going to cave in and everyone around me was saying it was going to. And that was my first memory of being at a show and feeling it.

LH: Criminal Instinct played a show with Trash Talk and some hip-hop artist, so it was a big melting pot. We thought it was going to be really weird, but it ended up being really fucking awesome. There were a bunch of kids who had never been to a hardcore show before that witnessed how crazy the setting really is.

Yoon: I haven’t been to many shows here ’cause I don’t live here, but the Foundation show that happened in April. They’re a hardcore band selling out Heaven, and then an extra 200-300 people got in somehow, so it was really packed.



I met with Atlanta art rockers Warehouse next to a huge merch tent. We sat underneath a tiny tree that somehow managed to provide us with a decent amount of shade. This is when the sun was really angry at everyone and decided to make itself known.

IA: Who are you excited to see?

In unison: Uhhh…

Doug Bleichner: I wanted to see Deerhunter but they played yesterday…

Ben Jackson: Dinosaur Jr.

Elaine Edenfield: I’ll probably go with you to that.

BJ: American Football would be cool, too.

IA: What is your favorite Masquerade memory?

EE: WRASFest. That was sick.

DB: I think that was 2014….?

Alex Bailey: Yeah, 2014 WRASFest, definitely.

BJ: That’s probably the only positive memory I have from here. Then again, we don’t really come here that much.

EE: I came here to see Little Dragon a bunch of times. I was underage and I would sneak rum inside film canisters. I would shove my pockets FULL of them. I think I was 19?

BJ: Actually, now that I think about it, I have a pretty strange one. I saw Dan Deacon in Hell, and there was a super loud show upstairs in Heaven and the sound was bleeding through the ceiling and pissing him off. He played one minute over his allotted time, so they cut ALL the power in the middle of the song and people were getting mad and yelling “what the fuck?!” Then they projected this text on the wall that said “Fuck you, get out, you played over your time.” And it was incredibly aggressive and weird. So yeah, that’s my Masquerade memory.

Josh Hughes: I got robbed right here (points at the porta potties in the side street next to the venue). Not today, but…

Fox Wound

Fox Wound

Fox Wound were waiting for Bryce and I on the steps leading down to the pavement from Heaven’s fire exit. They had just destroyed the Hell stage less than an hour earlier and I made it a point to tell them how much I enjoyed their set while see spoke.

IA: What’s your favorite Masquerade memory?

Richard Philip: This show! Today is the last time we’ll probably play here. If you had asked me yesterday, I would have had a different answer, but the fact that I can think back to all my memories of seeing bands play in that room and I got to play that room, too, is just really great.

Harrison Lyerly: This one time I played in two different bands, and there was a huge Heaven show that had seven local bands on it. And I got to play back to back, which was one of my most tiring experiences ever, but it was also pretty rad.

Joseph McMichen: My first show I played here, I was 13. I’m 22 now and I’ve played here several times, so I think this is a pretty great send-off.

Tyler Sidney: My first actual show was at the Masquerade, the 695 Masquerade, and I saw Sum 41.

HL: The first show I ever went to here was when I was 12-13, and it was Underoath and the Devil Wears Prada. As soon as I got up to the gates, it was sold out. That’s still a memory, though!



At some point on Sunday, my colleague Bryce Center sent me a text that said “Go find Drew from Mothers, he’s outside of Purgatory.” After not being able to find him for a few minutes, Bryce appeared from the street, spotted Drew with a point of a finger, and he walked us inside Hell, where the rest of the band was camped out.

IA: Who are you excited to see?

Drew Kirby: Dinosaur Jr.

Kirby and Chris Goggans (in unison): American Football.

CG: I wanted to see Deerhunter, but that was yesterday…

Kristine Leschper: Yeah, yeah, all those!

Matthew Anderegg: I think American Football is a priority.

IA: What’s your favorite Masquerade memory?

CG: We saw Death Grips here. Well, not in Hell, but in Heaven. That was intense.

DK: I saw Killer Mike and EL-P tour together and then a year later they were Run the Jewels. That was probably my favorite Hell memory. And they brought out Big Boi from Outkast.

MA: This is probably my second time being at the Masquerade and I live two miles from here.

(Everyone laughs)

MA: But I saw Tera Melos here in 2005…?

KL: I saw Tera Melos, but they were with deadCat. I think that was a different show, though.

DK: This place was a little more scarier when I was a teenager, and now it’s just… uh… I’m not going to finish that sentence!

In short, the Masquerade’s 695 North Avenue location meant something different to everyone who visited, and while it all might not be positive, it was still memorable enough to stick with you. Personally, my favorite memory was playing the Heaven stage with my band, the Rein. There’s magic in that stage. Many of the musicians I looked up to played to droves of screaming people there, and somehow I got to play that stage, too.

But only after we sold enough tickets.