Disclaimer: An audience member threw a beer that hit Katia’s camera in the photo pit mid show. It’s a good thing Slug gave his blessing to use mobile pictures for this review. “It makes for a good story.”-Slug
Minneapolis native Prof was the first up on stage at the show that evening. We only caught a few songs at the end of his set, but the crowd was really feelin’ him. Prof is a tall lanky white boy with geeky swagger. He was a little stiff of stage, but he was super excited and carried a relaxed flow. The song “Animal” really hit the mark with that dirty south vibe.
Blueprint was up next and he kicked things off with a keyboard solo and directed the crowd to “nod your heads y’all.” The live bass player that tours with Blueprint looks like a straight hesher while he rocks out and head bangs to the beat. He’s got the right ideas. DJ Raregroove turned up the heat while he cut and scratched on the turntables along with the MacBook pro set up. The vocoded choruses of “Automatic” shook the ground at Metro and kept everyone movin. Blueprint picked up a little keytar loaded with guitar licks for him to play along with the bassist on the next song. Fans cry out “Blueprint” as he rocks out on the keytar. In between songs Blueprint would play interludes on the keyboard like transitions. Intensity and heat poured out of Blueprint’s impassioned and seasoned flow. The power pop hip hop track “So Alive” stood out that night with a beat that burrows right into your chest and sets up camp. In the middle of the song, Blueprint picked up the keytar again, and the crowd went wild. The smell of skunk filled the air between sets while the DJ kept things movin. They set up the stage for Evidence who was up next.
Evidence ran out on stage super hype as he handed out high five’s to the fans in the front row. He looked like a kid on Christmas, glowing off of the electric energy of the crowd and bouncing around with excitement. Evidence possesses a sharp tongue and an heir of gratitude as he addressed the crowd, “ladies and gentlemen.” He delivered clean and clear flows with wicked cadence, while DJ Babu backed him up on the ones and twos. “How many of y’all respect the DJ as the backbone of hip hop?” said Evidence and the crowd roared in agreement, “make some noise for Babu.” Then DJ Babu proceeded to effortlessly tear up the turntables while Evidence looked on and let him do his thing for about five minutes. As a weathered vet of hip hop, Evidence dropped a bangin set and showed mad love for the headliner, Atmosphere. “I’ll be at the merch table after this and I wanna see all of you,” said Evidence at the end of his set. After the last song he ran off and then came back out on stage to shake everyone’s hand in the front row. The crowd started chanting “Atmosphere” while they set up the stage for the headliners. They were loaded with excitement, anticipation and ample amounts of alcohol.
At 12:32am Slug came out on stage along with his DJ Ant, guitarist Nate Collis and keyboard player Erick Anderson and everyone in the place started to scream. A smile lit up Slug’s face as he greeted the crowd “is it alright if we play some old shit?” and the beat for “Guns and Cigarettes” dropped. Next they launched into “Just for Show” off of The Family Sign to mix in some of the new stuff. Then he told us about how he almost didn’t make it to Chicago tonight because he was so hung over and the beat for “Sunshine” started to bump. They played a healthy mix of old and new tracks from their collection. Many of the sloppy drunk fans were doing their own special brand of interpretive dance to the variety of Atmosphere songs and singing along. “Get nasty on the keys Erick,” Slug said and he began playing the intro to “Puppets” with soulful back up vocals by Nate, the guitar player. Slug feeds off of his fans affection like a vampire feeds on blood. A super jazzed out funky version of “God’s Bathroom Floor” was up next on the set list and they killed it. After a 90 minute set they called it a night, but came back out to chanting and screaming fans who wanted a little bit more. They did a three-song encore that ended with “Trying To Find A Balance” and brought the house down with everyone singing along.
This show was quite a treat, especially for those who didn’t get tickets to Lolla before it sold out or simply could not afford it. This was also the kick off for The Family Vacation Tour. Find out if you can catch them in a city near you: http://rhymesayers.com/atmosphere/