Table dancing, crowd surfing and parental guardians? Oh my!
In the kind of concert that makes parents and grandparents huddle in a corner, local surf-punk band the Antarcticats held their first full length album release, “I know you are, but what am I?,” at the Drunken Unicorn on Friday March 30 to a surprisingly young audience.
The event was put together by lead singer of the band and music-event coordinator, Andrew Joyce, who also included two other local bands in the event: Lunar Vacation and Pinkest. The three bands managed to draw an unexpected crowd of over 200 people, maxing out the capacity of the little venue. Originally, Joyce estimated there would be somewhere in between 100 and 200 people, saying only 95 had selected “attending” on the Facebook invite.
Maybe even more unexpected, though, was the age bracket, which the bouncer estimated to be about 90% under the age of 21 and said that many of them came with parental chaperones.
The Drunken Unicorn is a small, bubbly-graffiti covered building located on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta that is unique in its ability to provide a place for young players and crowds to come together. Although it does have a bar and even a club, the two are separate from the stage room, making it safe to open up to those under 21 through the ability to monitor entry to each section.
This is great, Joyce says, because “We have a good number of friends and fans that can't come to most bar shows.”
The Antarcticats’s typically play alongside other local bands, including the two younger ones that played with them at the release. In general, this particular community holds primarily collaborative concerts that over time have lead to these bands building fan bases through each other. The young turnout at this last event is evidence of that.
“[It’s] a huge aspect of the Atlanta music scene. Community and support. We continuously inspire and push each other,” says Antarcticats’s bassist Chris Senador.
This recent collaborative concert was bigger and more energetic than ever. Bouncing mohawks, table dancing and, to the horror of many of the parents present, frequent crowd surfing filled the night. It is events like this that point to the increasingly young and vibrant music scene here in Atlanta.
“I think it's important to have these kinds of events in the city, not just music but any kind of art,” says coordinator Joyce.
Lunar Vacation also commented, saying “Last night's turnout is evidence of the support that keeps this scene going,” adding that “It's a great community of people and we want to continue to keep it positive and safe for both artists and listeners.”
Youth involvement, and venues that allow for it, like the Drunken Unicorn, are important components of successful cities and have been shown to lead to greater ownership and create stronger entrepreneurs for the city’s future. Young people in general also bring vitality and dynamism to cities through events like this, which are now being recognized as substantial parts of a city’s economy along with business.
So, to the apprehensive parents and annoyed older audience members, be comforted by the fact these oversized-jeans-wearing, energetic Generation-Z kids are contributing to the quickly growing Atlanta economy by bringing money to these local venues, restaurants, businesses and eventually, maybe even your own wallets.