February 2, 2012 No comments yet
12°… It was 12°F on Friday night at Red Rocks Amphitheater just outside Denver, CO… 12°. But there were still 11,000 people braving the elements for the one-and-only winter show to hit Red Rocks. Snow-gear junkie company Icelantic teamed up with AEG Live to produce the first EVER winter concert at Red Rocks! Held in conjunction with the Snow Sports Industries of America (SIA) Snow Show Tradeshow, this landmark event celebrates winter in Colorado at one of the most iconic venues in the world, with Grieves & Budo starting the show, followed by Common. And the headliner: Atmosphere. Even with the brisk air, it couldn’t have been a better atmosphere (pun definitely intended). The chill just ensured that all 11,000 people in attendance were off their asses and moving around. Nothing gets the blood flowing like dancing.
I was too occupied putting on my beer jacket to hit up Grieves & Budo, but I could hear them from the parking lot and it sounded pretty dope. Sorry I don’t have more for you guys on Grieves & Budo, but I did get in to the venue right as Common started. I thought Common put on a solid show all around. He threw it down hard on all of his recorded verses, but ignored any track from his 2nd and 3rd albums, including one of his more successful tracks “I Used To Love Her”. Maybe I’m too critical, but unfortunately I thought his freestyles were a little lacking as well. When I go to a show as hyped up as this one was, I expect that when an artist freestyles it will be better than what I can do at home with my boys
and a joint. Alas, as big a fan as I am of Common, I was not impressed by this facet of his performance. Maybe it was just a fluke? Maybe I wasn’t that into it because I was 40 rows away and it was fucking freezing? Maybe he’s better with a smaller, more intimate crowd? I’ve seen Common before and I thought it was dope. Whatever it was this time around, I just can’t place it. But again… I’ll chalk this up to a fluke and continue listening because his music is good.
Anyway, on to Atmosphere. It has been a little over three years since Atmosphere’s first full length album. They’ve been relentless ever since, staying at the top of their game in every respect. For the better part of two years, Atmosphere toured the globe in support of their critically acclaimed When LIfe Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. After a double EP in 2010 (To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy), Atmosphere is still on the grind. In 2011, they dropped their long awaited LP, The Family Sign, and have been touring in promotion of it ever since.
Here’s a little blurb about The Family Sign directly from the website:
“The Family Sign was written early in 2010, and as they sat down to record the record, the Family grew a few times over. In the studio, Atmosphere was joined by long time touring musicians Nate “The Guitar Man” Collis (guitar) and Erick Anderson (keys). At home, 2010 also saw the addition of two real-life children to the Atmosphere family, further inspiring the writing process and the concept, and title, of the album.
The Family Sign comes from a place well refined and firmly planted, from a universal perspective. It’s about being okay with losing friends and strengthening your bonds with others, celebrating the person who’s been the most positive in your life, your kids, your homies, leaving the people you need to behind, and bringing the ones you love with you. It’s about your family, your time and the time you have with them. It’s about living and dying. It’s the truth about family, that it comes from loyalty as much as biology. It’s about breaking down your perceptions of family and really appreciating the people who’ve made you who you are and continue doing so.”
The Family Sign is Atmosphere’s most personal and intimate album. Since its release in April 2011, Atmosphere have toured both North America and Europe twice, sold out shows across two continents, including their sold out headlining performance at Red Rocks this summer and performed sets at Soundset, Lollapalooza & Bonnaroo. Their Winter show at Red Rocks also sold out in weeks (surprise, surprise).
Atmosphere killed it despite the bitter cold. On the real, Atmosphere could have shut the place down after one track. To the delight of the entire crowd, Slug’s signature voice dropped “God Loves Ugly” off the bat.
We were graced with “The Woman With The Tattooed Hands.” We were treated to “Little Man” from You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having, and given some very special insight into the life of the lyricist. At the end of the track, Slug paid tribute to his late father, Craig Daley, who would’ve celebrated his 59th birthday. The crowd indulged with a brief undeclared moment of silence that was broken with the opening pianos of “Yesterday,” and we all got right back into the moment. Essentially, it was a greatest-hits compilation concert. The tracks kept pouring on for 2 hours, and the encore may have been the biggest treat of the night. The final track was “Sunshine,” which led directly into “Always Coming Back Home To You,” featuring a very special surprise appearance from Brother Ali to shut down the show. A video is below. Enjoy!