A Saturday afternoon at the busy Plaza Shopping Center, known as "Plaza Drugs" to long-time locals not because of any illicit trade, but due to a former pharmacy and late-night diner that used to be there. Now, the Plaza Theater, the city's only remaining repertory cinema, is all that's left of the Center's former glory days.
But what's that racket coming from down the street, from the normally serene and quiet Druid Hills Baptist Church? Why, it's this year's edition of Artlantis, an event I almost forgot about until I stumbled across the announcement in the online version of Creative Loafing, Atlanta's weekly alternative newspaper.
This was my third Artlantis, having caught the event in both 2011 and 2012, buy I missed fully half the event this year, but hadn't heard of any of the bands I missed other than country troubadour Muleskinner McQueen, who I think has played at every one of these events since they've started holding them. By the time I got there, an electro-noise, hip-hop ensemble called Warsz was performing, but they wrapped their set up before I could really settle in.
The next band was a quite good indie rock outfit called Shepherds. Despite their simple lineup (guitar, bass, and stand-up drummer), they managed to produce a very full sound and played a satisfying set, full of tasty guitar licks backed by driving, almost tribal, percussion.
The same bass player stayed on "stage" (actually the front door of the church) but now was on guitar and backed by a different stand-up drummer and a new singer/guitarist for the next band, Del Venicci. Like the previous bands, they were new to me, but I also enjoyed their set quite a bit as well. They call themselves an "Italo-Glam band" (whatever that means), and their sound is marked by the lead singer's high-octave vocals. I see that they will be opening for Mikal Cronin at The Earl later this month.
The final band and the day's headliners were the only band that I had heard before - Atlanta's reverb-crazed noise-rockers deadCAT, who opened for The Helio Sequence and Shabazz Palaces at Terminal West earlier this year.
Their dissonant noise-rock was not to everyone's liking.
I forgot to mention that there was also a full art show going on at the time, with various vendors, artists, and merchants. I bought a print of the promo poster for the Dinosaur Jr./Shearwater show at Variety Playhouse during Rocktober last year, more because I liked the artwork and design of the poster than for any particular nostalgic impulse.