Live Reviews

Atmosphere Live

Brother Ali

Brother Ali and Slug were back to these shores after only a few months away and came back stronger and better than ever. Last time they came over, Slug had a live band creating his backdrop and Ali had his DJ BK-One on the decks, but this time they both had the same DJ – The one and only Ant! Ant is the beat maker for Atmosphere and does many of the beats for Brother Ali and so, for the first time in the UK it was actually Atmosphere that played [as opposed to Slug appearing as Atmosphere].

Ali kicked off the party in perfect style with his brilliant tracks like Forest Whitaker, Champion, Rain Water and even threw in a track from his upcoming album The Undisputed Truth, which is due out next year. One thing you know when you see Ali is that you’re going to get a smiling, happy emcee who just wants to perform and see the people out there enjoying themselves. As he said during his set, anyone can see a show, you can see a show on tele, but if everyone feels the music and gets hype, then the show turns into a party and that’s what he wanted to see.

Slug came out to the hero worship he must surely be used to from underground hip hop fans and when he blew open the track from Ali’s album Blah Blah Blah, we knew that this wasn’t just any show. And when Ali strode out to be Slug’s hype man for the Atmosphere set, you knew that you were standing inches away from greatness and a show you would never ever forget.

Hitting up the obvious favourites like God Loves Ugly, Fuck You Lucy, Trying To Find A Balance, Slug breezed through the set with ease, talking in between tracks as if the crowd were his best friend. But it was when he threw in older tracks that everyone’s smiles turned into grins and the hands, which were constantly in the air, pumped that little bit harder.

The lights went down, the spotlight beamed down on Slug and he took the hyped crowd down to The Woman With The Tattooed Hands, which didn’t stop the energy and was arguably the loudest sung track of the night by the crowd, but it just showed that he can mix it up, bangers and ballads, and still have the crowd in the palm of his hand.

With Ant chain smoking his way through untold packets of fags, chugging his way through who knows how many beers and generally being the ultimate don that every Atmosphere fan knows he is, Ali bopping around at the back of the stage and Slug being everything that a frontman should be and more, this was better than any other time I’ve seen them. This was, in fact, the best show I’ve ever been to and I can’t see that changing any time soon.

Whilst they might be rapping about partying for the fight to write, we’ll just be partying to their tunes and long may Atmosphere and Ali continue.

[Photos by Jen Saul]