The last time I saw Atmosphere in concert was at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley back in 2011. When I found out they were playing again at the same venue, I knew I HAD to go.
Atmosphere (the duo consisting of Shaun “Slug” Daly and his D.J. Anthony “Ant” Davis) was playing the “Kickin’ Up Dust Tour” along with The Grouch and Eligh, Tribal Seeds and the headliners Slightly Stoopid.
The crowds were still trickling in when The Grouch and Eligh (both a part of the rap ensemble “Living Legends”) opened up the four hour-long show. They had the crowd bumping along to the beats in unison. It was a thing of beauty to watch from my bench seat along the aisle. They gave a lot of love to the Bay Area and that got the crowd going. Eligh’s quickness with spitting out his lyrics was impressive. The only complaint I have is when one of their songs had a “dubstep” breakdown, though the crowd didn’t seem to mind much.
The San Diego based band Tribal Seeds was next to take the stage. The guitarist who played the entire set barefoot enhanced their mellow reggae sound and feel. I had never previously heard their music, but after seeing them live, I’m definitely going to invest in their albums. Keyboardist E.N. Young and his high energy were the highlight of the show for me. He would occasionally break out playing a melodihorn and at the end of the show, he jumped off the stage and crowd surfed. It was a great punctuation to a good set by the band.
The group I came to see was Atmosphere. In addition to Ant, Slug also had a fellow by the name of Bill sharing the scratching duties on stage. The Minnesota bred rapper sported a “Tribal Seeds” t-shirt during his set that opened up with the song “Puppets” off his When Life Hands You Lemons, You Paint That Sh** Gold album. A girl from the audience even ran onstage during the song and it didn’t seem to faze Daly at all (a couple of people came up and jumped off the stage to crowd surf. Slug just asked that they not kick anyone in the face if they were going to do this). One of the crowd favorites was “Woman With the Tattooed Hands” from Lucy Ford: The Atmosphere EP’s. Slug started rapping this song with no music and you could hear the crowd rapping right along with him. The music dropped in for the second half of the song and got the crowd going. This was followed by “Sunshine” (which Shaun sported some sunglasses while performing), which led right into “god loves ugly” from the album of the same title. The most moving part of the show was when he explained why rappers ask the audience to put their hands in the air and repeat chants back to the performers. “This is as close to church as some of us get,” he explained. Truth.
Slightly Stoopid closed out the show. They remind me a lot of Sublime (Bradley Nowell actually signed them to his Skunk Records label while the band was still in high school). Not only do they have the traditional guitars, drums, bass, but also a trumpet, a couple of saxophones, congas, harps and keyboards which all add to their reggae/ska sound. The fans were enjoying the show and I was dancing along before cutting out a little before the show ended to beat the traffic out of the venue.
All in all, I was stoked to see a group that I hadn’t seen perform for a couple of years (in a venue that has to be one of my faves) and walked away with some new bands that will now show up in my iPod rotation.
– Vanessa Gil, CBS San Francisco