Atmosphere put on an astounding concert for all

Photo taken from

Photo taken from

“This is what it’s all about,” screeches the girl standing in front of me. Her words pierce me almost as much as the multiple piercings distributed across her face do to her. “This is it,” she says, as a lightning ray of neon red strobe lights illuminates her eyes, glowing with life.

I’ll admit it– when I strolled into The Intersection in downtown Grand Rapids on a chilly Saturday night, I had no idea what I was in for. Immediately, I noticed the extremely diverse union of individuals within the venue.

Next to the group of college punk rockers was a couple dressed as if they were stuck in the 80s, all of whom were adjacent to the coterie of 40-year-old dads rocking out in the front. Strange as it was to be a member of this eclectic blend, the open air and embracing aura was incredibly welcoming. Never had my friend and I, two teenage girls, felt so simultaneously out-of-place and at home.

To start off the show, a trio of dexterous openers took the stage, each more electrifying than the next: DJ Keezy, The Lioness ,and deM atlaS. In particular, DJ Keezy’s sonorous beats delicately complemented The Lioness’ smooth rap lines rolling off her tongue; it was beautiful to see both women supporting each other and striving to become successful in the heavily male-dominated rap industry.

Though DJ Keezy, The Lioness, and deM atlaS were undoubtedly talented, but admittedly, the crowd was not completely into it. Atmosphere took the stage, however, and everything changed.

The duo, composed of production member Ant and lead singer/rapper Slug, has been making music for over two decades. From the intense sound of their first album, Overcast!, to the transformed vibe of their latest, Mi Vida Loca, Atmosphere has truly covered all the bases in their twenty years of producing music– this was vastly apparent from their wide array of fans hailing from all backgrounds.

Slug asked us if we were ready to have a good time, and he meant it.

Throughout their hour-long set, Slug vocalized each word of Atmosphere’s winding raps without error. The verses, backed by Ant’s never-faltering production and beats, were lovingly returned by the audience’s most dedicated fans. My personal favorite song began with the whimsical interlude of “Sunshine,” followed by metaphorical lines delving into life’s ups and downs. Neither sweat nor tears were a barrier to audience or performer, and it was hard to tell who was enjoying themselves more, perhaps the crowning factor of a stunning performance.

Around the middle of the set, I got goosebumps as Slug’s crooning in “God Loves Ugly” sent a wave of chills spiraling towards the audience, perhaps symbolic of their Minnesotan roots. It’s a hard thing to make each audience member feel like a part of something greater, but Atmosphere accomplished this and more.

With the clock nearing eleven and the crowd chanting “Atmosphere” in synchronized booms, the duo returned for a final encore. As the fog cleared and luminescence rained down upon the pit, all that remained was a cloud of passion encapsulating the sea of peace signs shooting towards the sky. Silence that can only be associated with pure content ensued before the crowd erupted into a cheer. “I love you all!” Slug shrieked to the crowd with real resplendence erupting through every word.

What an atmosphere.