Concert Review: Atmosphere, Grieves & Budo, Blueprint, Musab (Rhymesayers Family Tour, The Vogue Theatre, May 10, 2011):

Alright, so I said that I wasn’t going to post concert reviews that predated the inauguration of this site — a few reasons: too many — in other words, too time consuming — to copy, paste, and edit; some are poorly written; this is a site dedicated to cinema — but I feel the need to share this one particular event.

As great as the performances were, the highlights of this event were beyond the stage. Not only did we get to meet every single artist that performed, I got each of them to sign my old Rhymesayers shirt. Moreover, we got a couple pictures (one with Grieves [taken by Budo lol] and one with Slug and Musab), and I got Slug to sign a copy of Lucy Ford for me (my favourite Atmosphere album).

We chilled with Grieves and Budo at their merch table, and with Ant, Nate, Erick, and Musab outside after the concert while we waited for Slug. Nate told me where the tour bus was parked, so we went to see if Slug was there; having given up (and thinking he was taunting us behind the tinted tour bus windows), we walked back. We were on our way to get food and go home, and there he was! It took some patience, but, for the second time, we got to meet Slug!

As for the concert, as awesome as Atmosphere was, I think Grieves and Budo stole the show; I only wish they had a longer set. I’ve been a huge fan of Grieves ever since Irreversible, and I was just as anxious to see him live as I was to see Atmosphere — rightly so, what a performance.

Musab was on first, but his set was pretty weak. I was a big fan of the dude back when Respect the Life came out (told him I loved the song The Reckoning and he was quite taken aback), but his new material wasn’t so great.

Grieves and Budo completely flipped the energy. Grieves rapped passionately while Budo — the multi-instrumentalist — played synthesizers, guitars, tambourines, and horn instruments; it was an awesome sight to see. They opened with Bloody Poetry, one of my favourite new tracks of theirs. On The Rocks, Lockdown, and Gwenevieve were awesome live, but the highlight of their show — for me — was definitely Lightspeed; SUCH a good track live.

When they finished, Blueprint came on immediately. Thinking we had some time, we went to get some beer and check out the merch table (where we met Grieves & Budo), so we missed the beginning of Blueprint’s set — though we could still hear him. Fortunately, we were able to catch my favourite track, Radio Inactive, off his new album. Later, when we met him, I shook his hand and spat the last line back at him: “You’re the main reason we don’t turn our radios on”; he was pretty pleased about that (in the song, those are words supposed to be coming from his fans, and, in this case, they literally were).

Atmosphere was amazing, as expected – so many great tracks. I was really happy they played Between the Lines; it’s one of the first hip hop songs I ever liked (and helped get me into Atmosphere and the Underground scene way back in the early 00’s), and they didn’t play it last time. Many highlight performances of the show; Godlovesugly, Modern Man’s Hustle, Scapegoat, God’s Bathroom Floor, Last To Say, Shrapnel, Guarantees. a medley of Lovelife and My Notes, and (the encores) Trying To Find A Balance (with Nate opening it up with the spoken words, and a wicked solo to end it), I Don’t Need No Brighter Days, and Yesterday.

This was an excellent concert, and the overall event/night was even better; it will be hard to top. Can’t wait for round three!


About Kamran Ahmed

I have a Masters in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. I work as a freelance writer and film critic in Vancouver. My writing is primarily distributed through Next Projection, an online film journal based in Toronto.
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