There are only certain artists out there that can make timeless music, and Atmosphere is definitely one of them. It's the reason I can sit back listening to Overcast over and over, finding new meanings to each song. On May 5, after much anticipation, they released their newest album, Southsiders. The next day, the album release party was held at Highline Ballroom in New York City, and it was truly an unreal experience.
There was said to be no one else on this bill that night. No opener, no closer, no support. So you can imagine my surprise showing up 15 minutes after the start time to Sage Francis gallivanting around the stage with his infamous cape. This was only the second time I've seen the Strange Famous artist but he's another with a strong voice and loud opinion in the underground hip hop world, striking his listeners with harsh truths. His rhymes were a great surprise to the crowd ending with The Best of Times and opening the stage to our main act.
Slug peaked from behind the stage and the crowd started going nuts! After about 15 minutes in between sets, Sean and Anthony take the stage, thank us all for coming and jump right into the title track, Southsiders. Mind you, the album came out just the day before so there isn't anyone who knows all the lyrics yet but the audience starts to bob their heads and hands. The next few songs were much too familiar and we all began to belt out the lyrics and dance like no one was watching. During their track, Shhh, the sound cut out right on the lyric "and we're not infested with pretentious movie stars" and I couldn't help but think it was because of the city we stood in at that very moment. Was that a dig at New York? While the technical difficulties got sorted out, Slug went on to explain how grateful and appreciative he was of all of us. Not just for coming out that night, but for the continued support and letting them be who they are. A freestyle into the sound coming back on led into the next track, She's Enough.
A few songs later, Slug hopped behind the decks because he wanted to have some "fun." A few scratches and a freestyle later he exclaims, "That WAS fun!" In between the earlier tracks, they snuck in another one off of the Southsiders album, Camera Thief, of which the video for was released that day! After a couple "last songs," God's Bathroom Floor and Love Life they exited the stage in an array of applause but there was no way it was over, and we all knew that. They went on to perform 3 songs of the new album, Fortunate, Star Shaped Heart, and Arthur's Song just before Slug tried to find Sage to freestyle with. He must have left already because at that point, he pulled a fan out of the audience to join him instead. Dirty Mac was his name and what he spat was so unexpected. To the beat of Bitter, this guy straight up killed it up there with Sean. The rhymes flying back and forth were enough to end this show on a good note and send the building home in awe.
The Loser Wins
Modern Man’s Hustle
Party for the Fight to Write
Girl with the Tattooed Hands
Between the Lines
God’s Bathroom Floor
Star Shaped Heart
Photo credit: Beth Saravo