Walking into the Asylum was overwhelming to say the least. About 500 people packed shoulder to shoulder filled the Asylum’s main room. This, my friends, is what happens when one of your favorite underground groups goes commercial. These are the consequences.
Opening the night was MAC LETHAL, who I missed, as it seems I can’t get out of the house before 9:30. Luckily, I caught the set I was most looking forward to — PSALM ONE. This Chicago native has never played Portland before. With material from her new Rhymesayer’s release, she was a demanding performer. I was disappointed to see that she had a hype man rather than a hype woman. I would have preferred the unison of female voices or just hearing her alone. Petite, with plaited hair, and full of energy she had an appealing tomboy quality that seemed conducive to the all-male line-up.
BROTHER ALI, fresh off tour with Kid Capri and the legendary Rakim, followed with a solid set. The track “Rain Water” is as good live as it is recorded. Passion is and always has been evident in Brother Ali’s performance. You gather that he’s doing it for himself as much as for the audience.
And then there was SLUG, half of the duo ATMOSPHERE. He walked on stage, everyone screamed, he held his finger to his mouth to quiet the audience and said, “You ever have one of those days?” The crowd roared. “When all you think about is fucking and sex?” he continued. More roaring. “Today wasn’t one of those days,” he finished. Opening with material off of the latest album, You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having, at one point Slug got hot and removed his sweatshirt. After taking off one sleeve himself he allowed the front row of female fans to finish the job. They screamed for his attention and grabbed at his legs. He grabbed for his sweatshirt back. Nothing’s shocking, except for ANT in the deejay chair. Atmosphere’s anti-social producer graced the tour for the first time. It was a pleasant surprise to lay eyes on the mystery man.
Atmosphere visits Portland annually — but they might be outgrowing our venues.
: Live Reviews
, Kid Capri, Atmosphere (Musical Group), Slug (Rapper), More