Atmosphere revived a sluggish Melbourne crowd when they took over 170 Russell
Brother Ali took to the stage to raucous applause. He was the main draw for the vast majority of fans. Whether you think an MC means a Mic Controller or a Master of Ceremonies it can be agreed that Brother Ali makes his mic work a ceremony.
His set mixed catchy songs with moments of crowd control and speeches. The interlude discussions had heavy themes of love and politics. Even the common hip hop crowd game of call and repeat played into his theme; he had the whole room chanting “Love” as punctuations to his sentences. He threw a not so subtle dig at Trump and followed it by requesting the “revolutionaries put your fist in the sky”. It was inspiring but not everyone appreciated his politics. The politics settled as soon as he started Forest Whitaker. The crowd went crazy for the cult classic and focused on dancing for the remainder of his set.
When Atmosphere started, Slug came out wearing a MF Doom hoodie and opened with Perfect. It was a pretty conclusive way to win over the crowd. His ability to insert Australian references in the verses of old favourites also seemed to work in his favour.
Though still a little sleepy when the song GodLovesUgly started, the space cadet laden crowd sparked into an awkward sway. The gradual movement continued through Kanye West. By the time Atmosphere had started Fuck You Lucy the crowd was amplified and receptive. The mid-show smoke garden interlude had now ceased its ill effects upon the patrons.
After working hard to revive the crowd, Slug of Atmosphere pulled a veteran MC move; at the end of the always heartbreaking track Flicker, he left the stage. The crowd was not expecting such a sorrowful song to punctuate his set. Chants of encore were picked up first by the brave front row drinkers, then quickly passed along the rest of the crowd. The whole room cheering and begging for another song.
Of course the MC came back. He had to; you can’t leave a set on such a depressing note. Sunshine brought the mood back up. The mood sky rocketed when Brother Ali walked back on stage for some off the dome freestyle. Their obvious stage chemistry was an incredible way to end a set.
Words by Jimmy Hall
Image by Lee Dot Photography
Highlight: Atmosphere and Brother Ali freestyling.
Lowlight: The smoke garden greenery.
Crowd Favourite: Brother Ali Forest Whitaker.