Lollapalooza 2011, Saturday: Atmosphere
"I partied last night and I got down kinda hard. I considered calling the people at Lolla like 'I can’t come to work today. I’m too hungover,'" said Slug before launching into “Sunshine.” If cheers could speak, I imagine these would say "I know what you mean, dude!" Slug, or Sean Haney, the rapper behind Atmosphere, has never been one to alienate his audience. His subject matter is either self-critical (which we all can relate to) or calls attention to everyday details: the waitress, the sunshine, the incredibly sexy gas station attendant ("Dirty Girl"), the shared cigarette in the parking lot.
At the very moment I was watching Atmopshere live for the first time, I was sort of wishing I could gloss over some of the less-than-glamorous detail: The car-alarm-like "wooooo" of a kid proclaiming he was on both acid AND mushrooms every 10 seconds, the mass of people hell-bent on getting a good spot for Eminem, pushing everyone in their path.
Though some songs swept the crowd up in a frenzy like older tracks "Trying to Find a Balance" and "Shoulda Known," less heavy bass yielded limp hand waves. The gravity of a slower song, "The Last to Say," about domestic violence, was lost on a crowd who seemed too tired and drunk to care. But it was the end of the day, and the sun had been relentless. Chatter abounded during its play, which was stripped down: just Slug’s voice and some bass.
Atmosphere’s performance was a little disappointing for me. Understandably, though: the group has an extensive catalogue of songs, so I knew it was unlikely they’d choose my personal favorites (they didn’t). Nonetheless, Slug’s amazingly smooth flow and lyrical digs were still impressive and were definitely worth witnessing out of the headphones.