Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Atmosphere at Monolith

According to the title to Atmosphere latest record “When Life Hands You Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold.” On Saturday night life handed Atmosphere crappy whether. Needless to say, it was a good thing he brought a can of gold spray.

After Del Tha Funky Homosapien’s set was cut one song short due to high (no pun intended) winds, many wondered if Atmosphere would even be able to take the stage. Luckily the winds calmed, but the temperature continued to drop and when Atmosphere came out there was a different cloud over the crowd. It wasn’t a certain herbal plant that may carry medicinal purposes, it was the people’s breath.

The aura was far different for Atmosphere than Del’s, despite being two hugely popular independent hip-hop acts. During Del there was a fun party atmosphere with sing-a-longs and chants with hype men. Atmosphere, on the other hand, focused on their songs. Slug dug deep and bleed the rhymes he spoke. At one point early on Slug even mocked the party hip-hop culture when he said, “Repeat after me, Make Dinner Dinner Make Dinner Dinner Dinner!” When the crowd obliged he told them to stop, he was only joking. Even when it came to band introduction Slug referred to himself as Sean in a humbled manner, a far cry from Del Tha Funky Homosapien.

The second song into the set, “Always Coming Back Home To You,” Slug raised his finger pointed to the crowd and said, “Colorado this is a stick up, put your hands up.” But he didn’t need to rob them to get their affection and praise, he already had their head bobs and the intense looks in the audiences eyes.

The cold, rain, and wind made Atmosphere’s performance dark and cerebral. This wasn’t more evident than “Your Glass House,” a dark and chilling song about depression and drinking too much with a perfectly crafted beat by DJ/producer Ant that haunts throughout the verses. This segued into “Shrapnel,” a fast paced but equally dark song that features the lyric, “My posse's full of women, computer nerds, and thugs,” apparently so is his audience. The crowd was diverse and the population of white frat boys with their girl-next-door girlfriends had severely dwindle after Del.

After “Shrapnel” they went into “Guarantees” a soulful track off their latest album that only had bluesy guitar accompanying Slug’s rap. Atmosphere’s set wasn’t all doom and gloom, though. After the crowd surged during “Trying to Find a Balance,” Slug told the crowd that he liked them and that wanted to battle everyone in guitar hero. This was followed by an appearance by LA rapper Abstract Rude who joined Slug in some freestyling set to “Smart Went Crazy.” This was a rad and fun way to end the show, but the crowd hadn’t had enough. Slug told them he would do one more and then he was going to go catch Devotchka, the night’s headliners.

As most of the audience was yelling for “You,” their big single that has been played nonstop on Channel 93.3, Slug told the crowd, “I’m going to do a song I want, stop
yelling like it’s karaoke night!” He then bucked what would have pleased the masses for what pleased himself and those with a broader perspective and closed with “Not Another Day,” off their newest EP Sad Clown Bad Spring 12. This was the perfect way to close the show as the winds howled and the mist trickled down showing that party hip-hop can be a blast but truly saying something is more visceral. On Saturday night Atmosphere gave the audience a gem, and there’s no reason to paint it gold.

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