It’s a sad day for music lovers in Athens, Georgia and to anyone that’s ever had the pleasure of going to a show at the historic Georgia Theater. Early this morning, around 7am, a fire began that eventually led to the collapse of the building located in the heart of downtown Athens. Widespread Panic, R.E.M, and the B-52’s are three world-famous bands that graced the stage of the Georgia Theater during its reign over downtown Athens and helped mold the venue into a music landmark. I can’t help but be extremely disheartened when I think of all the experiences that I had in that building.
Some of my fondest memories of my four and a half years at the University of Georgia took place in the storied Georgia Theatre. Affectionately known among my friends and I as “The GATH” or “GATHY”, I had the pleasure of going to shows at the venue weekly throughout my tenure at UGA. I can’ t count the amount of friends I made at that place, the times I had with them, and the years that we took off our life while raging there. Everytime I walked in that joint, I could count on having a great time with the people that I came with, and the people that I knew I was going to run into when I got there. Even on Gamedays (yes, it’s capitalized), I would always love going into the Theatre whenever we stepped out of the game early and start boozing with Swamp, Wilmot, and the other friendly faces that were staples of the Georgia Theatre. I have been back on multiple occasions to relive the glory days and check out some music since I’ve been in the “real world”, and the Theatre certainly hadn’t lost it’s zing. Not only did I nearly have a nostalgia attack just from walking back into the place, but also at the sheer number of familiar faces I saw after being displaced from Athens for nearly two years.
It was a fixture of Athens and my best friends and I spent countless nights tripping our faces off to some of the best bands around. Musicians and fans alike had a strong affinity for the venue and it was evident by the amount of bands that repeatedly came back year after year. A lot of great local bands were proud to call the Theatre home. Even world renowned bands loved the GATH and would come back and play there when they could easily sell out much larger venues. Sound Tribe Sector 9, Widespread Panic, String Cheese, Drive By Truckers, Beck, Galactic, The Disco Biscuits, Ween, Perpetual Groove, Lotus, Umphrey’s McGee, Band of Horses, Girl Talk, and Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony are just some of the many bands that I had the pleasure of witnessing during my tenure in Athens. It really is incredible to think of how many great bands took stage at the corner of Lumpkin and Clayton throughout the years.
This is truly a sad day. I’ve received countless texts and emails from friends that I shared experiences with at the Georgia Theatre. It really is an odd feeling. A great friend of mine that I haven’t spoken to in a while sent me a message early this morning. It read, “RIP GA Theatre. Think about all them times me and you raged it in that place. God dang.” Another friend, who is now on the other side of the country said, “Everyone else was out getting blasted in the bars, but we were in the Theatre getting our funk on, and I wouldn’t take back one second of it.” Altough not profound or philosphical statements, it was certainly true. Good times were always to be had in ‘ol Gathy and that’s a maja maja understatement. As sad and dramatic as this sounds at first, I feel like the Georgia Theatre helped influence me into the person I am today.
It’s important to be thankful for all the times we had in the Georgia Theatre. It’s a blessing that it passed away in it’s sleep and that noone was hurt. Let’s hope that the historic landmark is rebuilt and once again is a house of music so newcomers can experience the yachtiness that was the GATH. We shall miss you Gathy, and we hope that you are resurrected and once again open your doors. If you do, I will be there, and I plan on losing a shit ton of brain cells when that day comes.
What was your craziest or fondest memory of the Georgia Theatre? What will you remember most? Feel free to leave comments and this could get pretty entertaining. A benefit for the displaced employees will be put on by my good friends Perpetual Groove at the Classic Center tomorrow at 9pm.
Example Comment: ________ was awesome. I remember when it was me, _______ , _________, and ________ and we ate _______ and did _______. Man, that was _______. Can’t wait til ______ comes to town and we get to ________ again.
This Saturday, Zoo Atlanta is putting on their game face and throwing their second annual “Brew at the Zoo and Wine Too”. What does that entail exactly? How about a Saturday filled with monkeys, pandas, lions (rarrr), beer, reptiles, vino, and some Yacht Rock? In my cocky opinion, I’d say like it sounds like a fucking win.
Starting at 4pm (plenty of time for all you fuck ups to sober up from Friday night), the yachtiest people in Atlanta will start flooding the Atlanta Zoo in Grant Park for a good old drinking fest. Walk in, get your “tasting” mug, and get to sipping.
Terrapin, Sweetwater, and Red Brick are all sponsoring so the quality of the beer is already setting the tone for what is to be a rocking good time (there’s also wine for all you limp-wrists out there). I don’t know about you, but drinking some 420 while watching Ring-tailed Lemurs frollick in the treetops sounds like history in the making.
The epicness of this event does not stop there, live music will be playing all day long for your listening pleasure. I don’t know who The Brotherland, Kyshona, Stokeswood, or Bailey Player are, but they are playing and it’s been rumored that they are all on the verge of being the best bands in the world.
Although those aforementioned bands haven’t had the pleasure of me listening to their music, I have had the distinct pleasure of seeing Y-O-U and Yacht Rock on multiple occasions. Let me tell you right now, be prepared to get fucked up side the head with awesomeness. Yacht Rock jams out serious AM Gold circa 1973, and they do it right. They oh so smoothly caress your eardrums with sweet music by the likes of Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, Hall and Oates, Captain and Tenille, Toto, and many other yachty musicians. If you haven’t seen Yacht Rock yet and aren’t planning on going to see them tomorrow, then you’re probably a tranny.
Y-O-U, the brains behind Yacht Rock Revue, are also rocking your face off courtesy of Brew at the Zoo. My good friend and lead singer, Nicholas Niespodziani and his two cohorts, Peter Olson and Mark Cobb, will be playing their original music for all of you animals to enjoy. Y-O-U is an extremely talented group of guys and I have no doubt that everyone will love what they bring to the table. If you are broke, out of town or poor and can’t make it tomorrow, Yacht Rock commits murder every Thursday night at 10 High in the Highlands and the first friday of every month at Andrews Upstairs. Y-O-U will be also be playing at The Earl on the 27th of this month if you’re interested in some good musica. Here’s a video done by Y-O-U and the beautiful Gina Niespodziani that will give you a taste of their original sound and creative genius (your fuckin right it’s all done with Lite Brite and a camera).
Brew at the Zoo is destined to be a great time for all parties involved, even the animals. Oh, and Buckhead fuckers, this may be your chance to get outside your bumble and have a blast. Just kidding. I love you. But seriously, I’ll see you at Zoo Atlanta for a drunken festy of a good time. If you need me, I’ll be the guys swinging from the trees with a sailors cap on. Ow ow.