Tonight was my first visit to the EARL (East Atlanta Restaurant and Lounge). It's in East Atlanta, a sector of the city supposedly overrun by hipsters. There was definitely a hipster vibe to the crowd but not the over the top, cringe-worthy walking disasters made famous by websites like look at this fucking hipster or internet memes like hipster ariel. A couple of interesting folks I met said Atlanta hipsterdom is about 5 years behind the rest of the nation and I did notice a dearth of lumberjack beards on the crowd. But I'm getting off topic here...
The EARL is a great live music venue in terms of atmosphere. Even though the front half of the space is a restaurant, the place conjured more of an Emo's vibe for me than Stubb's (these are Austin music venues). The stage is in the back of the lounge. It lacks the Flintstones BDSM graffiti, punk Ganesha, and theater seats that conjure so many fond all ages shows memories of Emo's. In fact, the walls of the EARL are mostly just black. But it's got that same intimate feeling with the stage. In fact, we stood next to members of opening acts Blair and La Sera to watch Say Hi and Tennis play. I didn't see any mohawks or studded leather jackets to let me know the punks were present like the staple Emo's crowd. Atlanta seems to be light on punks, in fact; I've only noticed a few out at shows, most notably at No Age / Rene Hell show at the Drunken Unicorn.
Like I said, the atmosphere is great. The crowd was mostly chill, too, unlike my many bad experiences with people at the Tabernacle and Variety Playhouse.
The one big complaint I have about the EARL is the acoustics. Hopefully it was just an off night. One positive sign was the tech coming out to replace the lead's mic during the La Sera set to improve the volume of her vocals.
All in all, I like. Still doesn't fit quite as nicely as the aforementioned Emo's and Stubb's or the Mohawk or La Zona Rosa or the Parish, but a solid venue, assuming the sound techs get their act together and dazzle me next time. Because there will be a next time. Many of my favorite acts tour through their, including the Lower Dens on Sunday, Telekinesis! on Monday, Asobi Seksu on the 21st, and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart with Twin Shadow on April 5.
Yew can dew it, earls!