Live Concert Photography: Atmosphere with deM atlaS and Lioness at Brooklyn Steel 10/23/18
I’ve written quite a bit about the critically applauded and commercially successful Minneapolis, MN-based hip-hop act Atmosphere over this site’s eight-plus year history — and as you may recall the act initially formed over 20 years ago as a trio featuring Slug, Spawn D and Ant under the name Urban Atmosphere. Interestingly, whether as a trio or a duo, Atmosphere has developed and maintained a long-held reputation for pushing the boundaries of what hip-hop should sound like and concern itself with thematically — especially as the members find themselves inching towards middle age.
2016’s Fishing Blues continued a string of insightful, soulful and mature material reflecting men, who evolved from tortured hedonists into settled down family men, who have seen and experienced much more than they can put into words. And while setting down in a much-deserved and peaceful bliss of family and art seems ideal in almost every circumstance, the world we currently inhabit has fundamentally changed in a frighteningly uncertain fashion. If you’re a sensitive, thoughtful person, you can’t help but be aware that while you may have your own little paradise within a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world, that paradise won’t (and can’t) last; and that “nothing lasts forever,” as a song says.
Unsurprisingly, Atmosphere’s seventh album Mi Vida Local thematically finds the pair grappling with their own mortality, and the anxiety and fear that comes with the painful acknowledgment that you’re completely powerless — and that you can’t possibly protect yourself, let alone your loved ones from the dangers of the world. Although thematically sobering, the album much like the bulk of their creative output is centered around the Slug and Ant’s deep and abiding friendship.
The Minneapolis-based JOVM mainstays spent the bulk of 2018 touring to build up buzz and to support their seventh album and it included a stop at Brooklyn Steel earlier this year with labelmates, collaborators and fellow Minnesotans The Lioness and deM atlaS. And of course, the relentless road warriors will be spending the first quarter of 2019 touring across the Midwest, Southwest, the Pacific Coast and the Pacific Northwest. Check out the tour dates below, and the photos after that.
01.18 – Springfield, MO – Gillioz Theatre
01.19 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theatre
01.20 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom
01.21 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues
01.23 – Austin, TX – Emo’s
01.25 – Houston, TX – House of Blues
01.26 – San Antonio, TX – Aztec Theatre
01.27 – Corpus Christi, TX – House of Rock
01.31 – Albuquerque, NM – Albuquerque Convention Center
02.01 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater
02.02 – Grand Junction, CO – Mesa Theater
02.04 – Flagstaff, AZ – Orpheum Theater
02.05 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre
02.07 – Los Angeles, CA – The Novo
02.08 – San Diego, CA – The Observatory North Park
02.09 – Chandler, AZ – Arizona Roots Music & Arts Festival**
02.10 – Long Beach, CA – One Love Music Festival**
02.12 – Ventura, CA – Majestic Ventura Theater
02.14 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Union Event Center
02.15 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up Aspen
02.26 – Billings, MT – Pub Station Ballroom
02.27 – Missoula, MT – The Wilma
03.01 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory Concert House
03.02 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SoDo
03.03 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
03.05 – Eugene, OR – McDonald Theatre
03.06 – Bend, OR – Midtown Ballroom
03.08 – Chico, CA – Senator Theatre
03.09 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater
03.10 – San Luis Obispo, CA – The Fremont Theater
03.12 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst
03.13 – Fresno, CA – Tioga-Sequoia Brewery
03.15 – Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
03.16 – Reno, NV – Whitney Peak Hotel (Cargo Concert Hall)
03.17 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory Concert House
03.20 – Fargo, ND – Sanctuary Events Center
03.21 – Sioux Falls, SD – The District
03.22 – Des Moines, IA – Wooly’s
03.23 – Lawrence, KS – Granada Theater
Born Joshua Evans Turner in Akron, OH, deM atlaS is a critically acclaimed Minneapolis-based emcee, who’s deeply influenced by Pharcyde, Nas, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Louis Armstrong and Billie Armstrong — although live, I heard a bit of Yasiin Bey/Mos Def as well. His set was primarily centered around the material from his full-length debut Bad Actress, an effort that finds the Minneapolis-based emcee boldly pushing the sound and thematic concerns of hip-hop while being deeply personal work.
Born Shaiwna Adams, The Lioness is a Minneapolis-based emcee, who can trace the origins of her musical and creative career to singing in her local church choir as a girl, before eventually expanding into poetry and spoken word. Finding herself wanting to spend more of her time performing for and in front of others, she began performing at local open mics. Eventually her poetry involved into rapping — and she then adopted the moniker The Lioness. Adams’ first mixtape The Most Anticipated was released in early 2011, a few months after she graduated from McNally Smith College of Music. The mixtape immediately led to the Thursday residency at the 400 Bar during that summer. And as a result she has worked alongside a number of her hometown’s highly regarded artists including Toki Wright, Desdamona, Brother Ali, Guante, I Self Devine and the aforementioned Atmosphere. She’s also worked with Red Bull Big Tune Beat Battle Champions Nicademus and G. Mo on her Lost Tapes mixtape, which she released in October 2011. With the release of Lost Tapes, Adams quickly cemented her as one of her hometown’s top, up-and-coming emcees. Building upon a growing local profile, she spent 2013 releasing her third mixtape Queen and the The Cabinet mixtape — with each effort being defiantly pro-black, pro-women and so on. Since then she has released a full-length album nas had continued to work within her community to effect positive change.