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Archive for July, 2009

Hey Playtonics,

While I continue to redefine what the theme of this blog is (I’m leaning toward some kind of forum for conversations regarding the intersection of music and philosophy), I wanted to share the exciting news that I will be attending and reviewing the upcoming animal collective show at Prospect Park (I am not sure if I am going to the Friday show or the Saturday show). With the help of my friend Morgan Harris who is a very talented photographer (check out his website!), I landed the gig of writing a 250 word review for the website The Bowery Presents. Hopefully the review will be posted on the website, in which case I will link to it on P.D.

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The Right Atmosphere

God loves puting your hands up at rap concerts

God loves puting your hands up at rap concerts

Hey Playtonics,

Have you ever stepped back from the musical experience of a concert and reflected on the uniqueness of the crowd? At New York’s Webster Hall on Monday night, I found myself particularly attuned to the people who accounted for Atmosphere’s sold out show. Amidst the throngs of teens who seized on the 16+ age limit at the door, I observed a variety of characters. Situated near me around the front of the stage was a gawky, unshaven DMB-bro type, a beautiful blonde with a tattoo of Minnesota on her nape, and a guy who looked like Harland Williams circa Half Baked. While this group is not usually the company I keep, as Slug, the resident MC of Minnesota’s premiere hip-hop group, astutely pointed out, “Tonight, the people around you are your community.”

Since their foundation in 1993, Atmosphere has established a sizable community of fans by virtue of their relentless touring and expanding discography. Monday’s show was a stop along Atmosphere’s “When God Gives You Ugly” tour to celebrate the re-release of 2002’s “God Loves Ugly” (which had been out of print) as well as their latest studio LP “When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold.” Shuffling through established favorites such as “GodLovesUgly” and “Modern Man’s Hustle” along with new tracks, Atmosphere struck a solid balance of appeasing and challenging the crowd (not to mention, a rendition of “Trying to Find a Balance” was probably the highlight of the show). 

Atmosphere’s on stage community consisted of mainstays Slug and Ant (Atmosphere’s producer and DJ) as well as Mankwe Ndosi  on vocals and spirit (as credited on Atmosphere’s Website), Nate Collis on guitar (who also rocked it with his opening band Attracted to Gods), and Erick Anderson on keys. Slug, who is ostensibly the front man of the group, maintained a high level of energy throughout the show and even brandished his freestyle chops during the encore (that is, with help from skillful MC Eyedea of Eyedea and Abilities who opened for Atmosphere). However, cool points have to be awarded to Ant who played the laid back DJ role to perfection. Perpetually sipping on assorted bottles of beers and chain smoking cigarettes, he reminded me of what I hope Billy Dee Williams was like in the 70s. Overall, among a community of fans from the five boroughs to the 10,000 Lakes, the group assembled at Webster Hall created the right Atmosphere.

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