Old Fourth Ward's Edgewood Avenue corridor has boomed with nightlife the last several years. It continues with the recent burst of activity across the street from Church and the Sound Table at the building most folks call "the Department Store." Leather couches, stage lighting, professional sound equipment, oversized paintings, industrial buffers and saws, and keg after keg have been moved into 467 Edgewood Ave. Rechristened in April as Erosol aka Department Store, the club is the vision of percussionist-turned-club owner Luis Carreras.
"Kebbi Williams and I came out from a Wolf Pack performance at the Sound Table one evening and noticed the 'For Lease' sign on the building," Carreras says. "We've always talked about having our own place for us — the artists and musicians."
Run by musicians for musicians, Erosol is a venue where Afro-Cuban and various types of world music, jazz, hip-hop, retro soul and funk, and DJ cultures thrive under the same roof. It's where musicians show up to see other musicians, bring their instruments of choice, and hop on stage to participate.
Originally built in 1899 as the Brown-Hayes Department Store, Carreras kept the building's name "Department Store" as the downstairs room and named the upstairs stage Erosol, where much of the live music happens. On a recent visit, the high-energy Balkan-style brass band Mercury Orkestar opened for the Atlanta Funk Society, while DJs filled both upstairs and downstairs spaces with beats between live performances.
Erosol's Facebook page lists a wide range of jazz-related groups performing at the venue but as the space develops its own identity and scene, jazz is only one of many forms of music the club hosts. College kids and older jazz heads take in the musical atmosphere while DJs pump dancehall, bass, and old-school soul sounds on non-live music nights.
The Atlanta Funk Society and Kelsy Davis' Radical Soul Funk Sessions will be semi-regular hosts as well as Russell Gunn's Elektrik Butterfly doing the music of Black Sabbath on Mondays. DJ events will be nightly. Carreras is also excited about bringing in Cuban bands Havana D' Primera and Pupy y Los Que Son Son later in July.
"Right now we're just getting started," Carreras says. "We do all types of music. Being on Edgewood gives us an advantage. It just seemed like the right place. Lots of foot traffic already. And we fell in love with the building. We wanted to have a platform in an area where we could expose the public to music and culture, and bring real music and musicians back to the front."