Friday October 1st, Minneapolis rapper Slug and DJ/Producer Ant took the stage as the group Atmosphere for their Las Vegas stop of the "To All My Friends" Tour. The openers, all fantastic, were Blueprint, Grieves & Budo, and DJ Rare Groove.
A predominately white crowd was wrapped around the escalators, waiting to get in to the House of Blues inside the Mandalay Bay. This was a relatively early show, with doors opening at 5PM. All-ages shows must often start very early when the venue is inside a casino!
|Ant and Slug|
It takes more than a handshake and an autograph though. You must be able to deliver the goods on stage. Deliver they do.
When Atmosphere hits the stage, they start the show with "Trying to Find A Balance". This was a perfect track to start a packed-to-capacity show. It's a song about Slug's struggles with getting the respect he felt like he deserved early on in his career. It's a song that speaks volumes about the tough road as an artist and a rapper.
Slug and company are all rockstars. Obviously, I say this loosely, since I am talking about a hip-hop group. Although it is not a huge stretch to say they rocked, since on stage there were a guitar and a keyboard player. If we think of DJ Ant as the drummer then the picture is complete. The performance is what earns Atmosphere the "Rockstar" title. Sluggo brings such a passion and energy to the stage. He stirs up the crowd into a frenzy, so much so that a fight breaks out. Slug admonishes the security for kicking out the wrong person, then goes into a slow jam to mellow out the audience. That's all the mellow we get, when the group puts the foot back on the gas pedal for the rest of the show.
Atmosphere played a lot of great cuts from some of their older albums, but there were a few songs off the new album, To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy. It's a great album that shot up to #2 on iTunes top 10 album downloads the week of September 11, 2010. Among long time fans, it seems to be a bit of a disappointment. Many felt that it's not as serious and heavy as previous efforts. I think they are wrong though. It's an album by a group in a different state of mind. Now that the band no longer needs to work multiple jobs in between tours to pay bills and raise families, there is no fire and drama in the lyrics of Atmosphere's rhymes. Instead we have a group who is thankful for their success, but still executing their music and art at the highest levels. I hope after seeing some of those songs live Friday night, that the fans on the fence about this new album might have had their opinions revised. The new song "Freefallin'" was one of the highlights of the show for me.
Atmosphere were a long way from home, but the crowd treated them like hometown heroes. I'm sure this won't be the last time Atmosphere sells out a venue in Las Vegas.