Barfly - Preston Craig reunites Decatur Social Club
Glow sticks and hook-ups past reconnect for one night only
See our photo gallery from last week's Decatur Social Club.
Heads are buzzing like a vuvuzela-filled futbol stadium. Sweaty fists pump the air on a miniscule makeshift dance floor, well past the city of Atlanta's last call. With Le Tigre's "Deceptacon" pushing through the speakers, it's hard not to get sentimental. We might as well have arrived in a DeLorean because this same snapshot was taken four years ago. We're back in Decatur on a Friday night and we're partying like it's 2006. Just one more drink and you swear you could remember your MySpace password.
For one night and one night only, the electro impresario Preston Craig returns to his conquered homeland of Atlanta for a much-warranted Decatur Social Club reunion. His baby, DSC, was a touchstone in the refreshed indie era of the mid-2000s, a weekly blur of a party that became local legend.
The ruckus reached a crescendo in 2008 after Craig's small indie rock army slowly morphed into a glow stick-armed, neon nation hypnotized by rave music; he wisely pulled the plug just before the shark got jumped. He and his brother, Jordan Jeffares, eventually uprooted to the mean 10-speed-and-organic-produce-filled streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Two years later, its midnight and there's a line down West Ponce de Leon Avenue outside an already brimming venue. One casualty of the hiatus has been the original DSC home: Azul — the taco stand by day/discotheque by night — didn't survive the recession. The party has moved down the street to the Marley House, which fittingly has the similar large patio/tiny dance floor configuration.
Along with the venue change, people have evolved and matured as well. The surly Craig has seemingly mellowed out in his mid-30s. Sure, he still wears that scowl, but now it's more like a wink and a grin — as if it's all been an act all these years.
He's less grizzly, but still suffers from the incurable ailment known as the "DJ is God" complex. Although his muscular dystrophy won't let him walk down the street, he still has an arrogance that wouldn't stop him from walking on water. But it's hard not to like a swagger like that from someone confined to a wheelchair.
A capacity crowd sweats to the oldies. It's an assembly of reunited friends, enemies, lovers and former drunken hookups. Competing with the Miley Cyrus/Biggie Smalls "Party & Bullshit" mashup, a sweaty shorty in skinny jeans yells in her friend's ear, "I've made out with a lot of boys in here. It's like the Ghosts of Hookups Past."
The clock nears half-past 4 a.m. and the milestone is slurring to an end. The curtain comes down on an era with Craig playing Boston's "More Than a Feeling" as the end credits to his circus roll. Seems like a peculiar choice for the most persnickety of music snobs to close shop with.
While holed up in his Decatur hotel room the next day, letting his ravaged body recuperate from the battle he put it through, Preston ruminates over DSC: "I ended it in 2008 because it had lost its magic and I had lost my inspiration. It made me think a lot as to why I could never put my thumb on why it was so special. But after last night, I saw what it meant to everyone. I think it needs to come back in some form or fashion"
It's hard to re-create magic, but it might be time to hack into your old MySpace account and send out some bulletins, because I have more than a feeling that some Decatur socializing will be coming back to the future on Fridays.
Just check your glow sticks at the door.