This year, all of my favorite artists were going to be touring. Then came along a few new phrases we all learned in 2020 like “COVID-19” “quarantine” and “social distancing”. Shows were cancelled and many artists were hit hard by the loss of tour and merch money. In an effort to save the stage, Rival Entertainment along with Big Boi and friends came up with a way to concert responsibly. Big Night Out Atlanta started the “rage out with your cage out.” Is that really a thing? Yes, it is.
This past weekend Centennial park was transformed into an outdoor concert hall. Complete with two, four, and six-person pods to help maintain social distancing. At first I was confused on how these “cages” would work but I actually enjoyed the fact that I could leave to get a drink (or two haha) and not lose my place on the lawn. There were also plenty of staff with signs reminding concertgoers to put on their mask if they were outside of their pod.
The festival was Friday thru Sunday, October 23-25. Amazing bands like Moon Taxi and Marcus King Trio lit up the stage the first two nights, leaving Big Boi & Friends responsible to closeout the epic weekend.
Sunday night started out with Grammy award-winning DJ KP The Great warming up the crowd with a few ATL must-play tracks. This is where I first heard the term “rage out with your cage out.”
The first artist to perform was from Memphis, Tennessee and went by the name of Renegade. He approached the stage with plenty of energy and broke down the meaning of his song, “God, Guns and Groceries”. The song title alone may raise eyebrows but the deeper meaning was of faith, the ability to keep fighting through, and nurturing your physical and mental self.
Next up was Kneel’n Rey with singer/guitarist Neil Garrard and producer/DJ Ray Murray of Organized Noize and Dungeon Family. Neil’s rock star hair and rose colored shades made a statement while they whipped up a nice mix of Hip-hop and rock on the guitar.
Half way through the show, Big Boi joined the stage to greet the crowd and offer encouraging words during this dark time in the world. He reminded us that our bodies are made to heal and “When we take care of ourselves we can overcome any virus.”
The show is described as Big Boi and friends and Antwan did deliver. He brought out some of his best friends from the west coast, Phantogram. Phantogram is a group consisting of multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter. Big Boi and Phantogram have come together to form a trip-hop sound known as “Big Grams” and have been hitting up festivals around the country.
By this time much of the park smelled of greenery and I don’t mean the lawn or actual trees. Everyone was really enjoying themselves and you could tell the appreciation people had for the chance to get out and hear live music. “I Like the Way You Move” sounds amazing with live horns. The energy that seeing your favorite songs performed in front of you brings, cannot be replaced.
You could feel the strong sense of ATL pride when “Player’s Ball” and “Elevators (Me & You)” was performed. Of course Big Boi couldn’t have a show without inviting the Dungeon Family. Sleepy Brown, Goodie Mob, and Killer Mike all graced the stage as well. Each of them offered their highly respected flow to help solidify Atlanta’s much needed big night out!
I am not 100% sure what the future holds for live music in 2021 but I am grateful for this night and hopefully this festival is an indication of the possibilities!
Photos: Drew Dinwiddie