Atmosphere @ The Complex 08.20

Posted August 24, 2011 in

Atmosphere's following has seemingly doubled in Utah since the hip hop duo played at In the Venue in 2009. On August 20, they packed The Complex full as they toured with Evidence and DJ Babu (originally from Dilated Peoples), Blueprint and Prof for their Family Vacation Tour.

Slug made salutes to the crowd before his set began, stepping out on stage after Evidence and Babu finished their set to acknowledge the fans that came to see him and Ant play. There was a powerful energy coming from the crowd when the two stepped on stage, and it was evident that they were grateful for their fans. As he did last year and the year before, Slug asked the crowd to participate and raise their hands in the air, "We ask you to participate because this is a special moment. This is as close to church as I'm ever gonna get."

Although Atmosphere is notorious for overly depressing and dark themes in their music, their newest album, The Family Sign, is even darker. This was reflected in their stage production, an eerie mountain landscape mural accented with black lights that loomed over the duo throughout their set. "She's Enough" is one of the faster-paced songs on the album, and the crowd seemed to receive it well enough. It was evident, however, that not as many people had heard the album as when Atmosphere toured for their When Life Gives You Lemons... album release.

Despite the eerie stage production, the entire set wasn't dark. The first piano tones of "Sunshine" brought with them enormous cheers from the crowd, and it sounded like everyone in the house knew the words to the chorus. The mood was intimate when Slug stood in place for the four minutes of "Guarantees," and angry when they played the crowd favorite, "Trying to Find a Balance." Atmosphere finally played the one song I've been waiting to hear live for years, "God's Bathroom Floor." It was amazing. The moment Ant dropped his needle, the piano synth harmonics and echoing saxophone came through the turntables, the mood in the room changed and everyone could feel it. I looked around at all the people who, just one song before, had their middle fingers in the air. Now they were in a trance, swaying, some with their eyes closed, just listening. It's times like these when I remember why I love hip hop and that song is usually the one that reminds me.

They finished their set and left the stage. The lights still off, the crowd knew there was an encore coming. It was only a few minutes, but throughout the entire intermission it sounded like every person in the room was chanting three syllables, "At-Mos-Phere." The crowd reception was even louder this time when Slug and Ant stepped back on stage, and after a few words to the crowd, "Yesterday" came on the speakers. After a few more songs, Slug thanked Salt Lake City and the two took their leave.

Despite the criticism of their new album, Atmosphere still knows how to put on a damn good show and continue to prove that they're still the kings of underground hip hop.
Atmosphere Atmosphere's latest album, The Family Sign.