Atmosphere Returns To Madison With A Hip Hop Triumph + Win A Pair Of Tickets

Atmosphere 460 x 304 jpg

On Tuesday, September 13, 2011, our Minnesotan neighbors Atmosphere will hit up the Orpheum on their nationwide Family Vacation Tour bringing with them new, engaging material off of their seventh album, The Family Sign. A testament to “breaking down your perceptions of family and really appreciating the people who’ve made you who you are,” the band seeks to connect with fans as members of their extended family, perhaps a little less like a family vacation than a reunion. With elevated lyrical poignancy clothed in carefully tailored musical accompaniment, The Family Sign exhibits incredible maturity within its often brash and heavy content.

By opening with “My Key,” Atmosphere wastes no time introducing a more somber, brooding tone than what can be found on their previous works. Slug shares the spotlight equally with the instruments, whose jangly piano and gloomy guitar carries the song through.

The pieces of the album fit together easily, with the overarching familial theme shining through in “Something So.” Perfect for audience participation, in this song Slug calls for everyone to “hold up the family sign,” a fist raised in unity, not in violence. The image ties in with the album cover, a picture of an infant’s fist, which brings the album’s inspiration back into immediate focus.

The most powerful track is easily “Last to Say,” a direct plea to victims of domestic violence. Slug begs for his words to be the deciding factor in seeking help and getting away, stating, “Let me be the last to say, ‘Please don’t stay.’” Vivid imagery depicting the chain of effects grasps for our sympathy as he explains that if the abuse is allowed to continue it will be all that those around come to know, directly impacting the lives of children.

If Slug’s talent for vivid and realistic storytelling wasn’t clear enough with “Last to Say,” his skill in revealing truthful realization through thick metaphor is undeniable with “Became.” Told in first person, what starts as a believable narration of a couple’s camping trip and the mounting danger as he tries to track her down after she wanders away is revealed to be entirely figurative. Similarly, in “Bad Bad Daddy” Slug takes on the persona of a no-good father figure, narrating his interpretation of their literal perspective in a successful attempt at sardonic criticism.

There are a few really fun tracks like “She’s Enough” mixed in to counter balance the otherwise heavy subject matter. The song itself has a great groove, but the accompanying music video (featuring Brother Ali) gives the song an even more lighthearted feel.

The Family Sign as a whole is a hip hop triumph, successfully incorporating relevant social concerns in an all-too-often bastardized musical movement. Each song is involving; demanding we listen intently and sympathize with the aim of the embedded messages. With an ultimately tasteful presentation, Atmosphere tackles these concerns as if the recipients of their message are no less than family, reinforcing the relationship between themselves and their fans. Without dulling their edge, this latest offering further guarantees that Atmosphere’s live show will be an invigoratingly engaging experience.

 -Evan Benner


Check out 77 Square’s recent interview with Slug here


Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The Family Vacation Tour


Orpheum Theater – 8pm – $28 ADV $32 DOS – All Ages

($1.00 per ticket to benefit local non-profit)


WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS: With the name of Atmosphere’s current tour in mind, we want you to tell us about at least one favorite memory from a family vacation.  Never taken one?  Tell us about a journey or experience you’d like to someday share with your family.   Please have your comments posted by Sunday, September 11 at 6:00pm.  A winner will be chosen an notified shortly thereafter.  Good luck!


Want more chances to win?  Be sure to like our Facebook Page—we’ll be giving away tickets there tomorrow (September 10).   While you’re at it, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our newsletter for even MORE opportunities to snatch up some free tix!   


Related Content: Atmosphere’s “The Last To Say” Video Cuts Deep

16 Responses

  1. My favorite family vacation memory was the wedding we went to where we were driving to the UP and we put our suitcases on top of the car in a carrier. Well about 30 minutes in the 2 + hour trip it started pouring. We didn’t think much of it until we got to the hotel and realized the carrier had broken and our luggage was drenched. Everyone’s except my father’s (I think he had planned it that way!?!). While we spent all night drying our clothes with hair dryers, we also went to the local Walmart to pick up some garbage bags and cross our fingers that it wouldn’t rain again! Ackk!

    Luckily the wedding went well, but our luggage problems were not over. As soon as we got off the ferry to load up our car. Some soccer mom in a mini van RUNS OVER our luggage and drags it beneath her car!! OMG! How the heck did she not notice that! Then she tried to blame us for running over our luggage. Luckily most items were unscathed, but I learned to very closely watch the placement of my luggage on all future trips!

  2. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up so we only took the occasional weekend trip to Wisconsin Dells until we got a bit older (It was the summer before my freshman year of high school and my brother would have been going into 6th grade). My folks had better jobs and more money so they decided to take us out west. We went through a bit of Montana (Custer’s Last Stand at Little Bighorn Battlefield) and then out to South Dakota (The Badlands, Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devil’s Tower, the most amazing sun sets) and then out to Wyoming (Yellowstone National Park, snow-capped mountains in July!). The whole trip was truly amazing and I looked at it even more fondly as I went through college and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. There is something so deeply wondrous about the “Old West”.

    But the funniest parts I recall, there are two, have to do with the perils of family vacationing. My brother had some trouble handling the car ride. He could not get comfortable enough to take a nap so kept moving every which way kicking me and eventually ended up on his back with his head handing over the seat and his feet in the back window. I don’t know how he slept but he did and I was just grateful he stopped fussing as he was keeping me awake in the process of finding his comfort zone.

    The other part involved my dad and his affinity for wild animals. We stayed at Mammoth in Yellowstone National Park in a cabin. Outside the main hotel, elk were just hanging out right there not at all bothered by the numbers of people traipsing about. My dad decided he needed to videotape them (he also had an affinity to videotaping every single moment of our lives). I admit, these wonderful creatures were magnificent but not 3 HOURS OF VIDEO magnificent. We finally got him to stop taping so we could go to the general store and get some ice cream. When we woke up in the morning there was an elk eating the bush right outside our cabin. Very cool but we were worried we wouldn’t get dad to leave!

  3. One of my favorite family vacation was a road trip out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Three siblings and my mother piled in a truck and left from Madison. I was a bit younger at the time so I don’t remember all of the details but I do get positive vibes when looking back at the pictures. We stopped at Wall Drug on the way and took some silly pictures at the tourist attractions. We happened to go through Sturgis during the motorcycle rally so when we visited Mount Rushmore they had 2 temporary lanes just for motorcycles. It happened to be raining when we went to Yellowstone but my mom captured a great photo of me and 2 siblings with umbrellas (i had a mickey mouse one) walking to Old Faithful. On the way back home, my older sister was driving a late night shift through some construction on a ramp when my mother woke up and started yelling “wake up!” because she though my sister was sleeping behind the wheel. She woke up everyone in the truck even though my sister was listening to music and doing just fine. I guess I remember the trip mostly from all of the stops and adventures on the way to Jackson Hole. Can’t wait to pick a place to road trip with my family one of these days.

  4. I’ve never been on vacation with family, I was raised by my grandparents, who at the time didn’t have much money. I remember as a kid wanting to go on vacation like most family’s did, but never had the opportunity. At the tender age of twenty three, I’ve felt that I’ve needed to take some trip or some life journey to find out who I really am. I want to meet new faces and see new places. I’ve always wanted to take two or three of my friends, hop in my car and just drive across country. I want to grow within myself and gain the experience. I want to stop at every little road side attraction. I’ve never been outside of Texas and want to see things that are missed everyday. People live to fast to stop and see whats in front of them. Driving, with the windows down, music loud and the wind on my face. I’m not sure where I’d go, that is what is so excited about life, is that you never know where it will take you. I do know that I would at least want to see every state. Or explore the west or east coast. If I had the chance to take a vacation? It would ultimately be a never ending road trip.

  5. My favorite vacation up to date was the one I took last year with my best friend. I know you said ‘family vacations’ but she is my family as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, myself, her (Victoria), and her boyfriend (Caleb) went to Florida. It was all of our first times going on a road trip without any parental units, we all turned 18 in January so we were very excited, to the least.
    Florida turned out no to be as sweet as we thought, being young, stupid, and very naive we didn’t know you had to be at least 21 to purchase a hotel room. Thus, we end up staying in a little crack motel right inside Jacksonville, Florida. We were robbed but luckily not hurt. They stole all of our money, cameras, phones, and laptop. We were going to leave the next day due to our lack of funds, so we went to the beach one last time and I met this man named Bret, we got to talking because he had a beautiful dog and I just waltzed right up to him and we just starting chatting.
    As it turns out Bret lived not even a few blocks from the beach, he was a retired veteran, he also had a 14 year old son or I doubt we would of trusted him but he took us in, gave us food, and a place to stay. I will never forget that man as long as I live. He lived in probably the most beautiful place I’ve seen so far in my life, Amelia Island, Florida. The most adorable little retirement town ever.
    That night we stayed with Bret we had a blast. He had home-made tequila that he let us try, he also had a golf cart that he let Victoria drive around, so we rode to the beach that night. Victoria and I skinny dipped in the ocean, that was pretty incredible. I felt so free, so a part of the world.
    That trip taught me soooo much, mainly that you have to be careful and that everything has a way of working itself out if you let it.

    “I wear my scars like the rings on a pimp, I live life like the captain of a sinking ship.” ❤

  6. Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to see Atmosphere on the family vacation tour because he didn’t come to his hometown for it. which is pretty understandable considering right before he started that tour, he did the welcome to minnesota tour. in which i thankfully was able to attend in duluth, and let me tell you it was most definitely the best show i had ever been to. the lineup was ridiculous, first of all DJ abilities played a set in the beginning, and between every artist setting up, and kept everyone dancing and moving. And then there was Los Navitos, who hyped up the crowd for Prof, who made the crowd go nuts, and then of course, who everyone was waiting for, Atmosphere. I cannot even begin to explain how amazing Atmosphere’s performance was. Let’s just say, mind blowing, life changing. Total pure bliss. Seeing atmosphere live, to me, isn’t not just seeing my favorite hip hop group from my city where i was born, or seeing the most brilliant men from minneapolis that changed the hip hop scene forever. To me, it’s life changing. I love seeing atmosphere live. and if i could, i would do anything possible to win these tickets. i’m crossing my fingers. thank you for this chance.

  7. Atmosphere is so dope. Love slug. How he can describe and imagine how it is to be a women going through abusive relationship. From being in one personally for a while slug deff hit the feeling dead on. It would be great to win tickets for the concert in madison so I can go with a friend that’s never experienced the amazingness of atmosphere.

    P.s. my friend said she’d shit her pants if I won tickets lol

  8. I’ve never taken a vacation but will be in oct 16th to go to eyedea’s memorial that his mom is ahving in minnesota. It would be great to get tickets & talk to slug about easiest way to get there

  9. So it’s fairly short but suhweeet. I was about 8yrs old driving with 2 older brothers, mom & dad from Cali to Watertown,WI. My mom had just found her biological family out there so we were meeting them for the first time. Middle brother wrote a journal the whole trip & I wish I could share it with you, curse words & all. It’s hysterical.
    A little side note….my mom doesn’t wear chonies(underwear).
    We stop at a gas station in windy Kansas & park next to a packed tour bus with at least 1 camera around each persons neck. Mom gets out in her sundress & we all watch in horror as a gust of wind blows it over her head. Needless to say, we were blinded not only from seeing our mom like that but from the hundreds of flashes going off. We still wonder how many people own that shot & how many husbands got in trouble for taking it.

  10. My favorite family vacation was the summer of my freshman year. My family always pinched pennies and at that time driving down to Missouri and taking a three day canoeing/camping along the river bank was the most affordable (only costs were gas and food). It was my parents, uncle, two older brothers, brothers’ two friends (mine as well have been brothers as well), and myself. Being the youngest and the only girl was entertainment in and of itself at the age of 15.

    The road trip from Wisconsin to Missouri was comical, including a stop at the friendly Missouri supermarket to grab food before we set out on the river. My brother being “Mr. Suave” decided to “hit on” the check out girl, asking her for her number, the bag boy jumped in and stated “I don’t know if you can handle her son.” My brother with a slightly puzzled look asked “What do you mean?” The bag boy responded with a very southern redneck accent, “You like whips and chaaains?” The check out girl blushed and the five of us kids bolted. That is a scene I will never forget.

    The trip down the river was full of harassment from being with essentially four older brothers, back paddling like crazy when we almost ran into the poisonous water snake ready to pounce, a typical tent crisis, horrible singing around the camp fire, a rash from having to use the woods instead of a bathroom, bathing in the river, and the list goes on. Not to mention that our car that we used to take us back to the starting point (and our second car) got a hole in the gas tank due to driving over what appeared to be a small boulder. Thank goodness we still had a bar of soap left over to stuff into that hole (=a make-shift plug for the tank); that bar of soap got us all the way back to Wisconsin(thanks dad for having all sorts of odd fix-it-yourself knowledge).

    It was a family vacation right out of a movie scene. One I will never forget, and makes me thankful we didnt have all the money in the world. We were stuck joking, teasing, hitting, splashing, making hilariously ridiculous mistakes, and bonding together. And it didnt hurt that the back drop for this movie was spectacular.

  11. Since I am an exchange student from Germany and only in Wisconsin for one semester at the University, I´d like to share an European family vacation memory:
    Around 1990, when I was 5 or 6 years old, I went to eastern Germany with my parents to visit family members who were trapped behind the iron curtain before the gate opend. I will never for get that trip. Even though I was fairly young back then, I still remember what it was like to travel through the former soviet part of Germany. It felt like traveling in a time capsule. The roads were broken, small and sometimes barely passable. The buildings, especially in the rural areas, lay before us as ruins, empty and broken, as if whole towns were evacuated. Reaching the city of Leipzig, it felt like time had stopped in the 1950s. Damages from Second World War were still easily visible. The majority of cars in the streets were old, shabby trabants in pastel colors. The flat in which my fathers uncle used to live back then had a nostalgic familiarity to them, if as seen a hundred times before on black and white TV. The electronic and electric devices of the 1980s had not yet been implemented in the east. Color TV, electric heating, electric ovens and microwaves, as well as laundry machines and dishwashers were not common goods in the DDR back then. As a kid, I could not understand the relatively simple living conditions of the people in the east. It was truely mind boggeling. The most common leisure time activity for the people back there had been a neccessity, too: Farming and cultivation of land. Because of the recently dissolved socialist government the unemployment rate was unbelievable, and jobs were really hard to come by. Poverty and neediness for basic goods were all around, yet, the solidarity of the family grew even stronger. Families and friends were helping each other and I experienced a cohesive family unit that impressed me at an early age.
    I am thnakful for that experience and will never forget the lessons I learned on that vacation!

  12. Sadly I can’t write a 5 paragraph essay about my family vacation because we’ve never had any. So that’s why I’m looking forward to going to eyedeas memorial. Never got see meet him or see him in real life but his mother keeps his spirit very much alone and I’m going to drive 6 hours to bring that awesome loving lady some flowers. Of course I’m going to bring flowers for eyedea as well. R.eye.p eyedea

  13. Great responses so far! This is going to be a tough one to choose a winner for.

    If you’re thinking about entering, better do it soon—we’ll pick a winner tomorrow night!

  14. Congrats go to Kate for this one! We hope to see all of you at the show!

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