Atmosphere - Scala - Wednesday 24th June

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29 juin 2009, 19h25m

So last Wednesday, I went to see Atmosphere at the Scala. When I got there, Slug was hanging around outside, so we went and got a photo taken with him. I didn't really say much to him, although I did let him borrow my sharpie to sign someone elses ticket. As soon as we got inside, I thought up like a hundred things that I had wanted to say to him, including suggesting a project which I'd love to see him do with The Hold Steady. Also, ask him what is up with his obsession with substituting the word "grill" for pretty much any word live, thank him for putting a record out with Epitaph and along with Sage Francis, making me realise that there's actually a load of great hip hop out there. And just generally tell him how much I love him. Maybe better I didn't talk to him really...
This was the fourth time that I had been to see Atmosphere, and the first time that Brother Ali wasn't supporting, which felt a bit weird. Still, I'm fairly sure it was the best I've ever seen Atmosphere. For a start, I really liked the set up of Ant plus a couple of live musicians. The first time I saw them, it was just Slug and a backing band, and it just didn't feel right that Ant wasn't there. The second time was just Slug and Ant, and it was really cool to actually see Ant in the flesh. Plus, it was before the smoking ban, so he did his trademark standing behind the decks, chain smoking the whole set thing. The third time was when they did a tour where Brother Ali and Atmopshere did a sort of joint set. As much as I love Brother Ali, and I really do, his album The Undisputed Truth is one of my favourite albums, I would really have rather it had just been Slug. So the set up of Ant and live musicians was cool, especially given the nature of When Lifes Give You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold. Secondly, having got into Atmosphere in mid 2004, when they were on Punk-O-Rama 9 'cause they put out Seven's Travels jointly with Epitaph, I'd missed out on seeing a lot of God Loves Ugly live, and the set had a lot of stuff from God Loves Ugly (it wasn't actually until I got home and had a look at the set list that I realised that other than one or two songs, everything in the set was either from God Loves Ugly or When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold (I guess they didn't call the tour "When God Gives You Ugly" for nothing!) I was also suprised to hear Vanity Sick, the bonus track from When Lives Gives You Lemons... in the set.
After the finished the set, Slug made some comment about how obviously they wouldn't play in London and not do an encore (really? how about that last time I saw you when you didn't do an encore?) but that they weren't going to waste time by going off and coming back on, and that as the guy that had taped their setlist down, had taped it close enough for the front row to see, they were going to have to play all of their encore options so that they didn't disapppiont anyone. He also described the concept of a set and encore as putting together a set of what you want to go out there to represent, and then the encore is the stuff that doesn't quite fit with that, but that you want to play, or that you know people want to hear. So obvious really, but I don't really think many bands do it like that. An encore is just like, something that's expected, not necessarily thought about in terms of seperation from the rest of the set, if at all. The extended encore definitely didn't disappoint, especially as it included the track that got me into Atmosphere, Trying to Find a Balance, one of my all time favourite tracks of theirs, Always Coming Back Home to You and a freestyle.
I'm not really sure what it was that did it, but seeing Slug live again really reminded me of how important hip hop and all music is. Some of the stuff Slug says is so much more powerful live, especially on some of the stuff from When Life Gives You Lemons. And it made me re-realise how good he is at word play and story telling.

Oh and also reminded me of what a fucking great track Not Another Day is.

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