Show review: Atmosphere at First Ave.

by Jay Boller

With First Ave. sweaty and absolutely stuffed full with Atmosphere fans from all walks (fan-boys, groupies, drunks, ect.), Slug didn’t disappoint.


The group, hallmarks and grey beards of the underground hip-hop scene, seemed to relish the homecoming opportunity. Slug, who performed with producer (and self-described “better half”) Ant as D.J., a keyboardist, guitarist and accompanying vocalist, was comfortable without treading near complacency.


The songs, which were borrowed extremely heavily from Atmosphere’s recently re-released 2002 classic “God Loves Ugly,” spanned several records are were delivered with road-honed skill and plenty of gusto. And, as always, he ad-libbed plenty, such as altering the line “cause now she makes rent/and now she drives a Taurus” from the song “Hair” to “and now she drives a Prius.” Simple, yes, but a treat for devout and astute listeners. And to top the night off, there was a hefty seven song encore.


For a concertgoer unfamiliar with Atmosphere, the show certainly wouldn’t have served as a groundbreaking life experience (with the POSSIBLE exception of a swelling, explosive rendition of “Shrapnel”). But for fans, and particularity Twin Cities residents who grew up with Slug, it was akin to lunch with an old friend. Happy it happened, but inconsequential in the long run.


Slug has endured a lot in his career. Lots of fans – even locals – are quick to abandon him. But many constants remains. His attitude, perspective, alluring flow and rich catalog of quality music, to name a few. And for every fan willing to dismiss him as an ever deteriorating emo-rap novelty, five remain to stand loyally by his side.


A&E was very pleased to attend Atmosphere’s homecoming show and brought along a photographer to share some of the moments. (The slideshow can be found under the “Multimedia” tab)