Atmosphere Rapper Slug (Sean Daley) Onstage at Somerset Amphitheatre. Photo by Casey Carlson

Atmosphere in the opening slot may not be something the band has been used to in recent years. But with a couple of other heavy hitters, including Slightly Stoopid, Sublime, and Rome – The Minneapolis based hip hop group – now in it’s 27th year – can still pull a crowd.

And yes, that still held true even for an outdoor show in rural Wisconsin on a Thursday night. In between songs, Slug made light of the time that had passed behind us all, asking who in the audience had babysitters, who was going to be up past their bedtime, and who had chiropractor appointments this next week. Plenty in the audience raised their hand and, perhaps tongue in cheek, cheered. While none of us are probably in the best shape of our lives, we can still show up to a festival on a Thursday night.

Under the looming dark clouds of a rainstorm that threatened to dampen everyone’s spirits (a somewhat ironic situation given the reggae-focused lineup and the outdoor setting, perfect for a kush-centric audience), Atmosphere opened with the song “Okay,” an immediate fan favorite. The crowd was hyped up, perhaps excited for a momentary break from the clill-axed reggae, and ready for something with more energy behind it. Atmosphere was the perfect wake up call in more ways than one. From there, Atmosphere played a mix of familiar and new songs, and some of their biggest hits, such as “Puppets,” “The Loser Wins,” and “GodLovesUgly.” They also played some newer songs, such as “The Best Day” and “Sunshine.”

Throughout the set, Slug interacted with the crowd in a way that was both genuine and heartfelt. He talked about his own experiences and struggles, talked about family and how hectic our world seems to be, and how we’re lucky to have space and time like this to get away from it, even for a brief moment. One of the highlights of the show was “Yesterday,” a tribute to Slug’s father. A staple in any of Atmosphere’s shows, even if it hit a heavier note that the other bands wouldn’t touch on.

As their set came to a close with “Trying to Find a Balance,” it was almost poetic timing. The dark clouds, which had been steadily growing, finally unleashed a drizzle just as Sublime was into their first few songs. LiveNation made the responsible call to shut down the remainder of the show and ensure the safety of the fans on the grounds. Even though there were still two bands to perform, those in the crowd solely there for Atmosphere could say they got their money’s worth.

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