Waking The Neighbors

Doc McGee’s stirring up a Georgia neighborhood.

No, it’s not misspelled – and not at all connected to Doc McGhee, artist manager. It’s a concert venue in the Atlanta suburb of Carl, Ga., that is garnering raves from musicians and music fans, and brickbats from neighbors.

It’s not enough, some say, that they can hear the pounding of drums and thumping bass several nights a week. What really rankles is that the venue is attached to a church.

Doc McGee’s is housed in a more than 18,000-square-foot gym attached to Lifeway Church, though the two aren’t affiliated. A mere breezeway separates the secular from the sacred. Doc McGee’s, which serves alcohol, does not open on Wednesdays or Sundays when church services take place.

Lifeway pastor Bruce Rhodes isn’t bothered. His church is growing, and planning to move to a larger location anyway.

“They’re respectful of who we are and what we do and what we stand for,” said Rhodes, who lives a mile from Doc McGee’s. “I can’t say there’s any kind of contention.”

Neighbors disagree, saying that noise, traffic and headlights are disrupting a suburban idyll. Others embrace the addition.

Doc McGee’s holds 1,500 and has become quite a draw, giving local artists a stage to play on, and has attracted more than 10,000 fans to its Facebook page in just a few short weeks.

“It’s not a club. It’s not a restaurant or a bar,” manager Stephanie Green-Williams said. “It’s a place for musicians and their music. Having said that, it’s open for anyone who cares to come in.”

Plans are already in the works to expand to 1,800 capacity and open a music school. Long-term plans envision a 2,200-seater.