Slug (Sean Daley) of Atmosphere showcasing his rapping skills on Thursday, May 8 at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, Calif. (Michael Carranza/Living Out Loud LA)
As the sun set on The Roxy Theatre Thursday evening in West Hollywood, a line was forming. Fans arrived early to get a close look at the standing room only venue and see Atmosphere.
Atmosphere is comprised of Minneapolis rapper and producer duo of Slug (Sean Daley) and Ant (Anthony Davis). They were on the west coast to celebrate the release of their eight studio album, Southsiders (now available).
Everything seems a celebration to Slug nowadays, as he has matured into an indie hip hop staple along with his longtime producer Ant.
Slug asked the crowd “Where my friends at?” and instructed people to smile. This night was a celebration for their longevity of their music. As the pianos crept in and chilling drums mumbled in the background, fans erupted as the first notes of “Scapegoat” played. Slug asked the crowd if they recognized the song and then said that this song was for those that had been there from the beginning. The crowd replied with roars and they echoed throughout the dark walls of The Roxy, confirming that everyone in this room had been there from the beginning.
Slug recited the lyrics from “Scapegoat” and the crowd did the same. The crowd was loud throughout the night and at times exploded in cheers. He followed “Scapegoat” with “Between The Lines,” asking the crowd how many had been around since Lucy Ford a reference to an EP that established Atmosphere as underground hip hop elite in 2001. Faces in the room rejoiced and helped Slug through a song that was made 13 years ago.
Slug continued to instruct everyone to smile and “put your scissors up in the air.” Then in that second he came back to the present and the nostalgia of traveling 13 years in the past faded. “Throw your hands in the air & wave em like you don’t care,” he exclaimed. This lyric was from their latest single “Kanye West,” which can be found in Southsiders. The crowd responded with hands waving but it took some in the crowd a little while to recognize what was playing. They soon picked up on it and surprisingly with its limited amount of time, out recited the lyrics with Slug.
The loyalty of Atmosphere’s fan base was in full display last night as it was evident that Slug and Ant were feeding off the Los Angeles crowd. Slug was belting out lyrics and Ant caught a groove behind his equipment. Slug replaced “Minneapolis” with Los Angeles in every song that he penned for the Twin Cities, exclaiming his love for LA.
It was fitting then that he performed “Sunshine.” Prior to this Slug proclaimed that he heard someone say something in the crowd. He pointed out the fan and instructed her to tell crowd what she had just said. But she refused, so Slug said it for her, “She said play something we know.” So he dropped “Sunshine” and the LA crowd went into a west coast frenzy. Anytime odes to the sun are made they are sure to connect with a Hollywood crowd and the energy for the fan favorite track was felt throughout the hand swaying venue.
Slug performed “Camera Talk” and “Yesterday,” among many others. He went back as well when he opened “The Woman with the Tattooed Hands” with an a capella version of the first verse before breaking into the song and once again erupting the crowd.
It was becoming an entire show full of energy until Slug slowed it down as the night was commencing. Horns trumpeted and the undeniable, surreal instrumental for “God’s Bathroom Floor” faded in. Slug surveyed the crowd as if asking for approval, but he only needed to look once as the audience again responded with glee.
Atmosphere threw a party at The Roxy last night. The party was a celebration of positivity and the staying power of a group that was never a mainstream act yet has managed to withstand the test of time. “As long as I can hit my notes,” like Slug said on the final song of the raucous night.