For once, also, I'm able to drive an hour and forty minutes to see an Atmosphere show. That's usually about five to six hours at a minimum. Am I there? Hell yeah, I am. After a huge burger at the Pour House with Tim, Mick, Cody, Mayhem, Tij, Danny and Lee, we booked toward the venue. Jake's is a crap bar. It really is. It's like 50,000 square-foot ashtray with $2 beer and a fry-o-later. To be there pains me, but whatever, it's Atmosphere. Next time, I want an outdoor show, though.
We show up at about 9PM and there's a line wrapping around the front of the building. I'm thinking there's no way that these kids are there to see Atmosphere. Then I see all the stoner kids in their skate gear and the teenage girls dressed in hardly nothing--yep, it's an Atmosphere show. Lucky for me, there were enough fratboys to balance out the crowd. Either way, Lubbock turned out like a muddah. Making me proud.
We bounce inside to enjoy a few beers. I'd be keeping my eyes on the TVs for baseball scores. Turns out that the Cubs won their division (clinching a playoff spot). About ten minutes later, the Sox won against the Twins and, only moments later, Angry Tim's Orioles beat the Spanks in the 10th inning to seal the AL East for the Red Sox. Manny's got the right idea...it's time to get the grill ready for the playoffs.
Anyhow, we're sitting there in Jake's. Marco shows up. David and Chrissy were there. Lee was hitting on some blonde girl who was absolutely trashed. She wanted to get backstage (yeah, a groupie) not knowing that Jake's has no backstage, but rather a line of pool tables where you can find Slug leaning and talking to a scattering of people--crew, fans, local rappers. He leans back cooly just taking in the scene. Ant walks by smoking cigarettes, taking bottles of beer to the crew three at a time. The place begins to swell full of people. Yeah, we got a party.
I missed most of Grayskul's set talking to Ryan Hicks...good to see him again. He let us know of the after party down in Tech Terrace where he'd be performing. Ryan, I genuinely wanted to go, but I wasn't in charge of travel. Spoke to Slug who let me know he had a new EP out and two more to come before releasing an all-new full length record. I commented, "Man, you're working your ass off."
"I'm just not lazy," he replied. Ha. Girls began to swarm Slug as he sat shyly to himself. A couple of them looked like bait for the new Chris Hansen special, "How to Catch an Underground Rapper."
Mac Lethal freaking killed it. Must listen to the advance again. He had that whole place rocking. Of course, Lubbock's a pretty green hip hop audience. They respond very loudly to "fast rapping," the f-word and any mention of cops. They'll grow with more practice. Either way, it was a nice night to be onstage because you were the newest thing in town that night. I heard the promoter talking to Slug. Slug asked him, "So, did you get Aesop?" Apparently, Danny was right about Aesop maybe playing Lubbock. We'll see.
After Mac Lethal, Tij and I made our way to the front. It was hotter than hell in there and the smelly college kids were shoulder to shoulder up in there. As uncomfortable as it was, my view of Atmosphere in Lubbock was not going to be obstructed by some drunk moron and his girlfriend. Tij just needed to get up there because he stands maybe five feet tall tops and he wouldn't have been able to see the stage lights from the back, much less Atmosphere themselves. Some powertripping punkass bouncer was pushing kids around up front during the freaking soundcheck because he was trying to keep the ramp to the stage clear for Atmosphere. He started maddogging me like I was about to bust. Whatta chump. Dude's been watching too much UFC and needs a girlfriend. Thanks for bumming everyone out, moron. It ain't like you're protecting DMX, dun.
Some girl right next to me was staring at Slug just on the other side of the doorway panting the words, "I can't believe he's right there." Wow. They do exist.
Atmosphere came on with a full band. I knew this was going to be a treat. They launch right into the new material and, to my surprise, the whole front fifteen feet were almost lyric for lyric the whole time. In Lubbock, TX, no less. I guess these kids have supported. The band was pretty tightly wrapped. They replaced breakbeats with rock riffs and DJ scratches with guitar solos. Part of me really enjoyed it, but I'm a dat/emcee kinda guy at times. I wouldn't mind just watching Slug and Ant bring it down with a mic, a dat and two turntables. The crowd reacted well to the combination. Last I heard Atmosphere with a live band (in Denton) it was less rock and more "live band playing breakbeats." This was much more of a rock set. Refreshing.
Of course, Slug takes off his sweatshirt and the place goes up in flames. I don't know why a rapper taking off his sweatshirt to reveal a t-shirt underneath gets such a rise from audiences, but it never fails. It's funny because you knew that Slug wasn't going to finish his set in that sweatshirt. I mean, he only made it one song into his set and it was coming off. You wear it so you can take it off. Emceeing 101.
After hitting off with about thirty minutes of new material, Slug launches into some lesser-known stuff to kinda test the crowd including one of my personal favorites, "Summer Song." I began bouncing around after coming up for air (and bathroom). Saw Sam out by the merch table. Talked briefly. Again, Sam, sorry I missed the after party. It just wasn't happening. Altogether Atmosphere brought it down. A few members fell back and Slug remained for the encore which was really just, "We're gonna stay out here and do just a little extra for you." Nice we didn't have to plead for an encore. I always thought that was so retahded.
Apparently, Lee almost got in a fight with some dude who was accusing him of trying to pick up his woman. I can't lie, I did want to see some fighting. Not necessarily someone from our crew, but you know, it's like Elton John said, "Saturday night's alright for fighting." Just sometimes it's a Friday instead. Jiujitsu Danny was always ready for action.
Cody was doing the running man out by the merch table. Mayhem claimed he got bounced, but I never found out why. Everyone had a story, but I just went to an Atmosphere show.
Woke up the next morning next to Danny watching cartoons. Felt awesome. Needed some mexican to kickstart the morning. We went to Joel's for eggs, salsa, beans and hashbrowns. That did it. Drove home and slept for about three hours. Woke up feeling even awesomer. Sorry I didn't post yesterday, but I wasn't worth much.
Woke up this morning at 5AM to make the haul down to Midland for Brobro's first sermon as a preacherman. He spoke of the blind man Bartamaeus. Homie, you wrecked it today. Had more mexican. The sauce was hot. My insides are now gelatin and I crap water. Sorry. You can't fight fire with gasoline.
Gotta get ready for the work week. Holla atch boy.