Atmosphere at the Vogue with Blueprint and Grieves (Live) [Photos/Review]
Vancouver, B.C. – The Vogue Theatre provided an interesting atmosphere for the group Atmosphere’s Family Vacation Tour, a relatively upscale environment for a hip-hop show packed with overserved underdressed 19 year old girls. Thanks Slug. Atmosphere’s MC Slug isn’t the type to incite his fans to act hard and pull out their chrome – just the opposite.The Family Vacation Tour clearly was a family event, and the family in question is Rhymesayers, Slug’s very successful indie label. With Sab the artist and master turntablist DJ Abilities joining some of Rhymesayer’s foremost artists – newcomer Grieves and veteran Blueprint (of Soul Position) – this was a family event not to be missed.
With Grieves only a few songs into his set, he held the crowd in the palm of his hand – and held the mic in the other hand just as deftly. For a kid who looks like he’s due back to class before the principal finds out he’s skipping, he sure covered his set like a dude twice his age. And with twice the skill of any MC of any age, the kid’s ahead of his time. With lyrics packed with emotions in songs like “Bloody Poetry” (his jump off track from his forth coming release “Together/Apart” on Rhymesayer’s Ent.) to classics such as “Unedible” he connected with the audience quickly. And the audience was clearly familiar with his work, often rapping along word for word with the young veteran.
And next up was heavyhitter Blueprint for some real “grown man music,” as he rightfully calls it. Print takes the idea of mature rap to new heights, transcending the boom bap and hip-hop culture as a whole to the point where he’s almost standing on a soapbox imparting wisdom to the masses, his delivery at times coming off more as spoken word. With a long catalogue of solo material to draw from he surprisingly didn’t play too much Soul Position and mostly focused on his new material from his recently released Adventures In Counter Culture. When performing one of his lead tracks “Radio-Inactive” from the new album the house fell silent as they hung on every word. Print’s set flowed dynamically as he switched from manning the keyboards, to handling the keytar (yeah, that’s right) to leading the room in clapping along to his rhythm. When he left the stage it was clear that this guy is a blue-collar professional rapper who loves his job but takes it very seriously. And the whole place felt that effect.
And last but not least, making teenage girls swoon and rocker dudes who ‘normally don’t like rap’ actually like it, came Slug, Ant, and their crew. It was good times from the jump with Slug kicking his signature self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek charms that come through in his lyrics and the banter between songs. And when he played any given song from his monumental God Loves Ugly album from what seems like a lifetime ago, the kids went nuts. Which was little surprising because many in attendance must have only been like 10 when that album came out. Atmosphere proceeded to cover all aspects of their catalogue (not including Felt tracks, which is understandable considering he’s only one of the two MCs in the group). They took it back to the Lucy E.P.s, Se7en’s Travels and still gave us a healthy dose of new jams from their brand new release The Family Sign. As always, Slug was an absolute pro on the mic and with the added elements of a live guitarist and keyboard player, Slug and DJ Ant created a full rich sound coming off far more organic than digital. And props to the sound men on the boards – when the guitarist went from subtle blues riffs to gnarly distorted 3 chord rock the guys at the boards were always right on point keeping the sound amazingly clear. And dudes working the lights added to the theatrical setting that much more. Atmosphere rocked a long full set and delivered an encore that many of the already passed out kids probably wish they’d have caught.
The Family Vacation Tour had far less drama than your last family vacation and a much better soundtrack. So if you want to check it out hit up Rhymesayers and cop the new Grieves, Blueprint and Atmosphere and get aquainted with the fam…
Written by Jesse Furnell for HipHopCanada
Photography by Tyler Simpson for HipHopCanada