Photo: Patiri Photography
Slug’s performances have never let me down, being able to see Blueprint and Grieves open for him makes it even better. I arrived slightly late to avoid the prepubescent onslaught of crowds. Although I’ve always enjoyed Atmosphere, the experience has undergone some massive changes since the early days. Not only was the number of people tremendous, but also I was blown away at the amount of young kids there. I headed towards the bar for some type of relief from the sea of raging hormones around me. Upon entering the bar I was directed to where I could sneak behind the barrier to shoot my photographs. I wedged myself past the groupies, who were trying to get closer to the bouncers so they could sneak backstage, and I took my spot behind the front barrier to take flicks.
Seattle native Grieves was on stage already. I was really happy to see the crowd giving him an extremely warm and interested response, mimicking and throwing hands up for him in response to swift and sharp lyrical content and beats strong enough to get your head bobbing. They screamed, “burn it down” and gave him everything an aspiring artist could hope for when opening up for a heavy weight like Atmosphere. He captured many a heart with those big puppy dog eyes and bulging neck veins. Not only does he perform with passion, but also he gives everything a good performer needs to pump the crowd up properly for the main act.
As I patiently waited for Blueprint and DJ RareGroove to take the stage, I had three things happen to me. First I had three blonde high school chicks ask me to take their picture. I was in a decent mood, so I took their camera and provided them with an OMG flick for tomorrow in class. Second a broad in a sequined trucker hat screamed at me “Could you hand me my phone I dropped it?” I once again was in a generous mood, so I picked it up and handed it to her. Third, I noticed stares of amazement from the line up of young girls in front of me as I sang along with the EPMD song that DJ RareGroove was playing. Come on ladies—you supposedly love hip hop, so maybe go do your homework on the shit.
The lights went down and thank God all eyes directed to Blueprint walking on stage. Blueprint came out as he has in past live shows with backpack on and a towel covering his head. He weaved and bobbed on stage, slicing the musical beats with lyrics. Best moment by far was the song “Big Girls Need Love To,” in which the bouncers were cracking up at lyrics like “it’s like making love to a waterbed.” I was laughing so hard I could barely shoot pictures. The crowd gave Blueprint the same warm reaction Grieves had received, even though I felt that Blueprint's set was slightly shorter than I would have liked.
Finally after sound checks, instrumental warm ups and crowds chanting ATMOSPHERE the guitar player and keyboardist were joined on stage by ANT. Then lights once again went down and the crowd roared so loud I had to plug my ears. Slug stepped on stage and walked to the center then waved slowly at the audience before addressing them like an old friend: “Salt Lake....How the fuck have you been?” He then directed a stern warning to the crowd, “Why the fuck is anyone at a Atmosphere show fighting? You don't come to a Atmosphere show to fight—you come to get pregnant.”
Considering the night was full of oddities and weird fights breaking out all over the place it made sense that someone would try to put a stop to it. From songs “Modern Mans Hustle” to “Shoulda Known” to “Sunshine” the crowd swayed back and forth, mouthing every word to every song. The girlies are such suckers for this ugly indie heartthrob. After all, Atomsphere is the ultimate at catering to the ladies. Dude raps about feelings, emotions, love and heartbreaks. What girl could resist? I highly recommend checking out the show next time Atmosphere pulls through, not only is it always a well-performed and well-planned show, but Rhymesayers holds strong opening acts and never seems to disappoint. Slug never ceases to blow out the entire night. Well played sir.