We Are Family

April 27th, 2011

Atmosphere – Terminal 5 – April 26, 2011

“Why you guys all yellin’ at me? You know that makes me feel weird. Y’all think I’m a fucking toy,” shouted Atmosphere frontman Slug. The crowd ate it up, yelling back and clapping wildly. So he told them to “get nasty, New York,” and they did. The energy at the hip-hop veterans’ sold-out Terminal 5 show was nonstop and all encompassing. Those in attendance sang the lyrics to every song amidst a constant sea of waving arms.

It’s difficult to pinpoint which song really stood out as each was met with applause and recognition. Atmosphere rocked older hits, like the fun “God Loves Ugly,” off their 2002 album bearing the same name, as well as the more moody throwback “God’s Bathroom Floor,” while still keeping it fresh with new tracks “Just for Show” and “The Last to Say,” from this year’s The Family Sign. Slug had an impeccable flow, never stopping the momentum, telling stories as interludes to songs and making clever remarks that would leave the audience in an uproar. His love for his fans was apparent throughout the entire set, telling the crowd they’d better believe him when he said thank you because he wasn’t sure how many more times he could say it.

The music, produced by DJ Ant, with Erick Anderson on keys and Nick Collis on guitar, varied from a jazzy blues melody to a pounding sinister beat to an energetic frenzy. The winterscape background added a sort of serene quality to the stage, further adding to the atmosphere that is Atmosphere. The show instilled a feeling of hope and a sense of community. And as Slug made clear: “The Family is not just a catchy title. We are family.” —Kristen Ferreira