The Biggest Little City in the world hosted one of the biggest names in independent hip-hop at a an intimate venue you may have heard of: The Cargo Concert Hall.
As I approached the venue, I saw that the line wrapped around the side of the building filled with long-time Atmosphere fans. The Minneapolis duo (Slug/MC/rapper and Ant/DJ/beat-artist) have grown their following more than 20 years of releasing personal and relatable music.
The “Wherever” tour following the release of the 12-track album, “Whenever,” gave the audience all the classic Atmosphere songs they hoped to hear, plus a few new tracks with that distinctly cinematic sound held by the new album containing songs originally written for the credits of a TV show.
Atmosphere hosted three great openers: Nikki Jean, The Lioness and DJ Keezy – all powerhouse women who impressed everyone that was seeing them for the first time. The Lioness absolutely killed it, spitting some really difficult rhymes, while communicating her message of female power and independence, along with DJ Keezy backing her.
Following the openers, the growing crowd waited in anticipation for Atmosphere to begin. Finally, lights dimmed and the shit was about to get real. Slug entered onto the stage with Ant and another DJ behind him. The sold-out show had The Cargo Concert Hall packed with hands in the air, ready to get down with Atmosphere. Right out of the gate, fans of all ages rapped along with Slug, impressively knowing all of the words to the lyrically complex songs. They clearly had practice.
The performance was flawless, and full of liquids. Between Slug’s sweat and spit, the security in the front likely got an unsolicited shower during their shift. Slug joked that he spits a lot when he raps, so the security should be given umbrellas.
Atmosphere never disappoints, playing hit after hit from different time periods. Popular all the way back in the ‘90s, Slug is still just as engaging as ever. His humor comes across effortlessly in his performance. He may have aged on paper but you wouldn’t be able to tell by his pretending to be a roaring t-rex on stage. We can only hope that Slug will still be performing another 10 years from now. He is fluid, fun, and gives a great deal of energy to his fans.
Ant rolled out some awesome new sounds, infiltrating classics with heavy bass and creating new beats with a more modern sound. In between songs, Slug made jokes and interacted with the crowd, at one point taking a girl’s phone that was holding it out to him, hoping he would take video.
When Atmosphere left the stage, the crowd roared, demanding an encore. Shortly after exiting, Slug came back, “What are y’all still doing here? Gonna help me clean the floors? I know why she’s still here; I have her phone.” Jokingly the rapper gave back the girl’s phone and gave into the crowd’s demand, playing a few more songs.
Nikki Jean came back onstage to sing “Lovely” with Slug. She was featured on the original recording, so it was a treat for us to hear her sing the song beautifully.
Atmosphere sent their fans off with full musical bellies, satisfied until the next time we see them again in Reno.