Monday, December 19, 2011

Great Southeast Music Hall, Broadview Plaza and then Lindbergh Plaza above the bowling alley, Atlanta, GA


Mo Erlich was the co-founder of the Great Southeast Emporium and Music Hall. Robin Conant was the Genreal Manager, Stephen Dell was the Assistant Manager, David Kam was the Emporium Manager, & Harold Dodson was the Sound Manager.

The opening night act was Jonathon Edwards (only 4 people showed up) but the next night was better.

Billy Joel was an early act but had laryngitus, Waylon Jennings pulled a gun on one of his band members that did some weird drugs...he was very pissed, & Mylon Lefevre was an early act there before he rediscovered God.
There were so many great acts brought into this city thanks to all the people at GSEMH, especially Robin Conant who booked them all and negotiated with them to come to Atlanta. By the way,  Manilow wanted a spotlight and no one could watch him reherse! 


The Great Southeast Music Hall was an important part of life in Atlanta during the seventies. It was located in the elbow of a shopping center, Broadview Plaza (Lindbergh Plaza). 

A bowling alley was downstairs, a two level K mart next door, and Atlanta’s first hispanic neighborhood across the street. Like almost everything else here, Broadview Plaza was torn down, and replaced by a more uppity set of stores. 
1975

When you went into the lobby of the Music Hall, you noticed the walls. Performers were given a magic marker, and encouraged to leave a message. John Mayall found the ladies room, and said he likes to be near the ladies. The late Phil Ochs said “Impeach Nixon and Agnew”. What happened to those boards is a good question.
The auditorium held about 500 people. The stage was only three feet or so above the floor. There was an empty space in front of the stage, and a few rows of bench backs behind that. When the place opened, there were lots of pillows on this floor, with the Music Hall logo. The carpet in this front area was fresh when the place opened, and got progressively grosser as the years went by. Beer was served in aluminum buckets, and inevitably some wound up on the carpet.

The Music Hall seated around three hundred fifty or so, and the patrons sat on the floor on plastic pads with plywood backings and the bar served beer in buckets.

The room catered to Atlanta's burgeoning punk scene, as well as audiences for cult acts, touring legends and smaller rock outfits.The club gained international notoriety when Brad Moss, the manager, booked the first U.S. appearance of The Sex Pistols. The performance was said to be horrible. There are stories of Sid Vicious wandering through the apartments around Broadview trying to find heroin.

When the Music Hall was in it’s prime, the land for the Highway was owned by the State of Georgia, which was fighting legal battles over the highway. The land had a network of dirt roads, one of which connected Buford Highway to Lindbergh Drive. When you went from Chamblee to the Music Hall, the most direct route was over this dirt road. This dirt road is where Sidney Marcus Boulevard is today.

Eventually, the business model for the Music Hall did not work, and the facility moved to Cherokee Plaza.
Alex Cooley booked shows at the Cherokee Plaza location. This Music Hall was in a movie theater. The Cherokee Plaza Theater was the scene for the world premiere of Son of Dracula . This move did not work, for a number of reasons. The parking lot was too small, and people who wanted a loaf of bread from the A&P were blocked out during shows. Cherokee Plaza is just outside the city limits, on Peachtree Road. In the late seventies, DeKalb county was aggressively fighting drunk driving, and had roadblocks. Many of these roadblocks were outside the Music Hall, which kept many people from attending. Before long, this Music Hall closed.


Odetta blasted the audience for not showing her the proper respect…and Spirit playing on Halloween, and a very young Steve Martin opening for a very young Jimmy Buffett many years ago. After the show, Martin was hanging on to one of those trees that was in the big pots around the front entrance doing a post-show show in the parking lot.
There was a double bill featuring Barry Manilow and Country Joe and the Fish. Damn, I wish I’d been there!

Other great shows here: Doug Kershaw, Willie Nelson, BB King, Thermos Greenwood and the Colored People, Dixie Dregs, Ronee Blakely (Before the Nashville movie or the Rolling Thunder tour with Dylan, I think) Jimmy Reed and Biff Rose (!), Buffy St. Marie, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Janis Ian, and lots of performances by David Allan Coe (in both the Broadview Plaza and the Cherokee Plaza locations)
Promoter Alex Cooley also remembers the night a young Steve Martin cracked up an audience of about 20 people. After the show Alex recalls Steve Martin inviting everyone to coffee at the Waffle House. "I've had at least three hundred people tell me they were there" he laughs.



BB King performed here in 1979 and Diana Ross was sitting in the audience, also attending the concert in that tiny little theater were:

Diana Ross
Ryan O'Neal
Tatum O'Neal
Kristy McNichol
Eric Clapton
The Pointer Sisters
KC of KC and the Sunshine Band
They all got up on stage with B.B. for the encore.(2)


The club itself moved to 3861 Peachtree Road, N. E. in Cherokee Plaza, then closed.
The building was eventually razed, and the shopping center now houses a Home Depot and a Starbucks.




Jerry performed here on
4/15/75 Legion Of Mary
4/16/75 Legion Of Mary
4/17/75 Legion Of Mary



1.)^Henry, Scott, Creative Loafing Atlantam 2008-10-03
2.)^LovinDecatur, comments, 2008-09-18, http://www.city-data.com/forum/atlanta/436584-gone-but-not-forgotten-atlanta-4.html#ixzz1MLsPkdGO

10 comments:

  1. I met my husband at the Music Hall, the Brad Moss mentioned in your article here. Thanks for the many great memories, the Hall played an important part in my life, and the shows and the people I met here will always mean so much to me.
    Katherine Gasque (Moss)

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  2. Hi Katherine, Any chance you might have some old photos, posters, news articles from the Musicc Hall?

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    1. There are several images here, from the GSMH...

      http://michaelmastrorocks.photoshelter.com/gallery-list

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  3. Hmm, I thought Mo Erlich was the co-founder of the GSEMH. Robin conant was the GM, Stephen Dell was the Ast Mge, David Kam was the Emporium Mgr, & Harold Dodson was the sound Mgr. Opening night avt was Jonathon Edwards (only 4 peoplle showed up) but the next night was better. Billy Joel was an early act but had laryngitus, Waylon Jennings pulled a gun on one of his band memebers that did some weird drugs...he was very pissed, & Mylon Lefevre was an early act there before he rediscovered God. There were so many great acts brought into this city thanks to all the people at GSEMH, especially ROBIN CONANT who booked them all and negotiated with them to come to ATL. By the way Manilow wanted a spotlight and no one could watch him reherse!

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Yes, I think you may be correct as I just discovered Jack Tarver Jr. was a co-owner of Underground Atlanta, not the Music Hall.

    Do you have any other memories to add?

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  6. Well, ACTUALLY, Mo Ehrlich and Bob DuLong were the owners of the Hall from day 1 till the day we closed. The replies that mention Robin Conant et al are also correct...in the beginning days of the Hall, that is. The Hall was open for 7 years, and as it sometimes goes, Robin and the others who were there for the early days made exits over time and were replaced by other folks. Alex Cooley, Jack Tarver, and Glenn Allison all booked bands and performed Management duties for the Hall, as well as Brad Moss, Chip Abernathy and Sharon Powell, and others, after Robin left. Other notable employees include Doreen Cochran,Farrell Roberts, Mimi Calhoun, Sharon Wiggins, Van Booker, Alun VonTillius, Kay Von Tillius, David Manion, Gail Bast, Claudia Stickler, Butch Baskin and oh so many more wonderful folks who made the Hall what it was!

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  7. SharonP thank you for clearing that up.
    I'm wondering if you have the posters/handbills/program/t-shirt for the nights Garcia performed there (4/15, 16, 17/75)? None of those have seen the light of day.

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  8. I was at the show with Manilow and country Joe. Barry was the opening act and no one knew who he was. He kind of made eyes at me when we passed in the hallway. I didn't know he was gay of course, so now I know why. Anyway, I spent most weekends at the music hall between '72 and '74. Saw so many great acts. I played there myself a bunch of times on showcase nights and opened for Doc and Merle Watson and John Hammond Jr. Robin Conant was a good friend. So many memories. Thanks for sharing this site. Sammy Walker

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  9. Hi Sammy,
    thanks for the info, any chance you were there when Garcia performed?

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