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Atmosphere live!

Atmosphere
Metro, Chicago
Monday, October 22, 2007

For most MCs, there are a few givens in the hip-hop game: boisterous claims, a righteous sense of entitlement, and a ludicrously inflated ego regardless of the quality of work being put out. Looks like no one told Slug.

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“I’m just that one dude you saw that one time you were drunk when you were dating that one girl,” the rapper modestly proclaimed on the 22nd at Metro. At odds with this humility, halfway through his group Atmosphere’s “Shoes” the house shouted the song’s chorus aloud.

It was a move that caught Slug off guard, or so it seemed. It wouldn’t be the only time that night. Throughout the band’s 80-minute set, the rapper would often stop, displaying what seemed to be a genuine sense of surprise at the amount of love in the house for the group’s performance and extended catalog.

The outpouring shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise, however. Monday found Atmosphere bouncing between material new and old — unafraid to look toward their underground days, sometimes even visiting songs from the late ’90s — a feat Slug seemed genuinely impressed the crowd would allow.

On the other side of the spectrum, the group also previewed newer, as-yet unreleased material — presumably from next year’s When Life Gives You Lemons. Early contenders for fan favorites include the keyboard-laden “Music Box,” a dark song centering around a young girl stuck between two warring parents. Elsewhere a lighter vibe came through, like on the appropriately named “Sunshine,” a laid-back summer anthem from the outfit’s recent EP, Sad Clown Bad Summer Number 9. Perhaps the night’s strongest connection, however, came during a loose and messy, bass-heavy performance of the title track from 2002’s God Loves Ugly. It seemed ironic such a self-deprecating moment would draw such admiration from the room, but given the strange relationship between Slug and his audience, it seemed to make sense. After all, God may love ugly, but everyone loves a martyr.

– Jaime de’Medici

Filed Under: Live ReviewsWeekly

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