Seven years after final gig, Atlanta’s Metroscene gives fans “a proper farewell”

Between 1999 and 2004, Atlanta rock quartet Metroscene played non-stop at the city’s best rock venues, including Music Midtown and notably, opening for Interpol at the Cotton Club. At the band’s last gig, bassist B.J. Alden proposed on stage to his girlfriend. And then, after five years, one successful EP “Weekenders” and one full-length album “First Light at Last Orders,” the quartet of Alden, singer/guitarist John Phillips, guitarist Allen King and drummer Kevin Redd simply vanished from the city’s music scene.
“We never really broke up,” Phillips explains over a drink at Leon’s Full Service in Decatur. “Life just happened. People got married. People started having kids. We now have four spouses and six kids between us. But we never had a proper farewell.”
In January as Phillips, King and Redd were tinkering with tunes for a musical side project, someone suggested a one-off Metroscene farewell for fans. This Saturday, the band will celebrate those five fruitful musical years with fans at a free reunion gig at Little Tree Studios in Avondale Estates, starting at the family-friendly hour of 8 p.m.
While Phillips declines to disclose the band’s entire set list for us, it’s safe to assume the foursome of friends who first came together as fans of U.K. acts Pulp and Oasis will be rattling through lots of fan favorites, including “Weekenders,” “Curtains,” “Daydream Superstar,” “Tartan Skirt” and naturally, “My Darkest Star.”
Rehearsals for the reunion began in January. “We had to relearn all the songs!” Phillips recalls with a laugh. “But the rehearsals have been great. It’s like we never stopped. All the old dynamics came back very quickly.”
Phillips says respect within the city’s music scene and with national critics, along with a deep connection with fans, motivated Metroscene during the band’s five year existence.
“It really came down to the essence of the music for us,” Phillips explains. “We weren’t careerists. We weren’t trying to get signed. We were doing it because we loved it. Playing these songs again really takes us back to what we were feeling when we wrote them originally and where we first introduced them on stage. I’m sentimental. I love to recall those journeys in life. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do that for the fans who come out to the show too.”
And if the Metroscene reunion gig is well-received, Phillips hints that a final album could conceivably be released. “We have a whole Metroscene album that was recorded but never released. Who knows. It would be nice for people besides us to hear that!”
But for the weekenders heading to Avondale Estates Saturday, Phillips says the focus is on the fans and recreating the old Metroscene live experience. “It’s going to be scary,” he concedes. “It’s been a while. I just hope I don’t bump into my mic stand!”
The Metroscene reunion show takes place Saturday at 8 p.m. at Little Tree Studios at 2842 Franklin Street in Avondale Estates. To RSVP, go to the show’s Facebook event page or the Metroscene fan page. (Metroscene band photo at right is by Kyle Christy).