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NEON CHRIST w/ GG King and Upchuck (free outdoor show)
June 12 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Loud, Live, and Outside: Neon Christ to perform rare live set for Record Store Day
Neon Christ, the Atlanta hardcore luminaries founded by Alice in Chains singer William DuVall as a teenager in 1984, will reform for a rare live show in Atlanta to celebrate their Southern Lord Recordings/DVL Recordings release 1984, a Record Store Day limited deluxe vinyl issue of the band’s classic recordings from the titular year.
“We wanted to do a quick in-store appearance for Record Store Day,” says Neon Christ drummer Jimmy Demer, “but Covid restrictions would keep us from doing a proper punk rock show. So we decided to make it outdoors, and all ages, and free. And instead of doing a couple of songs, we’ll play a full set.”
The band will also make an appearance at Criminal Records prior to the evening performance. “The folks who run Criminal were instrumental in creating Record Store Day, and we feel honored that our record was selected as a Record Store Day release,” says singer Randy DuTeau. “So we thought we should personally thank everyone who buys the record. Criminal was generous enough to give us the space to do that.” The meet-and-greet is limited to buyers of 1984, which will be available in Atlanta at Criminal, Wax N Facts, Wuxtry, and Fantasyland.
The show will take place in the heart of Little Five Points, Atlanta’s longtime countercultural ground zero. “Our first practices were in Little Five Points, just steps from where we’ll play June 12,” says DuVall. “We played festivals here in ’84 and ’85. My record collection as a teenager came almost entirely from Wax N Facts. We didn’t even consider playing anywhere else.”
The show will focus on the 1984 material, much of which the band had retired by the end of that year as their sound evolved into longer, heavier, and slower songs. “We’ll be playing the earliest Neon Christ material, which is heavy on super-fast thrash. It’s extremely physically demanding to play. So we’ve been rehearsing for a sprint.”
“Neon Christ hasn’t played in over 13 years,” DuVall says. “For this show, we’re doing songs we haven’t played in 37 years. All of this is to celebrate the first release of our music at this scale that’s ever occurred. On every level, this gig is a must-see for anyone interested.”
Two other Atlanta punk bands are also on the bill: GG King and Upchuck. GG King’s singer, Greg King, is a longtime Neon Christ fan, and his previous band, The Carbonas, opened Neon Christ’s last show, in 2008. “GG King is one of the best punk bands anywhere, so we knew we wanted them on the bill,” Demer says. “We also wanted to get a young band as well, and Upchuck’s energy reminds me of the energy we had as kids playing this music. Playing with young bands, and to a young audience, raises the bar for us. We don’t want to be a nostalgia act, a Neon Christ cover band. We have to deliver if we’re playing with Upchuck and GG.”
“We’ve got literally three generations of Atlanta punk on this bill. That says so much about the longevity of this music,” says DuTeau.
“The coolest thing for me is the possibility that there might be a kid in the audience who’s never seen Neon Christ before, or perhaps never seen this kind of music played live before,” DuVall says. “We were the first counterculture experience for a lot of kids in the mid-eighties. We remain proud of that. Though certain aspects of “punk rock” are now mainstream, Neon Christ will always be counterculture. As such, every time we play, we have to fully represent what that means to us or else there’s no reason to do it. The only way to play this music is to fully immerse yourself in it, whether it’s 1984 or 2021. You create the wave and then you become the wave. The music leaves no other choice. I think it’s good for kids to see that no matter what year it is.”
Could this be the last time Neon Christ performs live? “It certainly could be,” says Demer. “We’ve only played two or three times since we broke up in 1986. This one feels like a homecoming. It’s full circle, back to Little Five Points. I’m just glad people are still interested in coming to see us.”
Neon Christ’s live performance will take place in the parking lot of the Star Bar, at 437 Moreland Avenue. Music starts at 6 PM and ends at 8 PM. The show is free and open to the public; all ages are welcome. The Criminal Records meet-and-greet is limited to anyone who purchases Neon Christ’s 1984 (at any retailer) and will take place from 5 PM until 6 PM on June 12, at 1154 Euclid Avenue.