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Fans, musicians brace for demise of two music venues | News

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Fans, musicians brace for demise of two music venues

ATLANTA (WXIA) -- Music fans are already lamenting an Atlanta without two of its most durable concert venues. A few days ago, a developer bought the property surrounding the Masquerade, the concert hall housed in an old mill on North Avenue.

And Smith's Olde Bar is getting the boot from its new property owner in Midtown, following the death of the previous longtime owner.

"Nirvana, David Bowie, Warren Zevon..." Steve LaBate is ticking off the names of venerable acts that have played at Smith's and the Masquerade. The musician and music publicist is standing on the Atlanta Beltline, overlooking the venue.

LaBate says the spirit of the Masquerade is fueled by its lively history. The gritty property hosting an electronic music festival this weekend may be hosting apartments and trendy eateries before long.

The Masquerade straddles the Atlanta Beltline – making it ripe for what developers would consider to be an upgrade. Smith's Olde Bar is in a row of Piedmont Rd. buildings with their own high profile—and the designs of developers who'd like to see it repurposed into something more high-dollar.

LaBate, who plays guitar in bands with names like Sex BBQ and Attractive 80s Women, says his bands have played both venues perhaps a dozen times.

"You go into these places and there's this mojo in the room, because of everything that has happened there. These kind of ghosts running around y'know. And it's inspiring for the people who play there" as well as their fans, LaBate said. "There's so much history there."

The Masquerade's Facebook page says the venue is not closing, and is continuing to book acts into 2016. Its management won't divulge details on whether / when the venue will relocate from the Excelsior Mill site.

Owners of Smiths Old Bar have taken the property owners to court to fight its relocation notice.