Atmosphere / Josh Martinez / Attracted to Gods The Starlite Room, Edmonton AB April 28

Atmosphere / Josh Martinez / Attracted to Gods The Starlite Room, Edmonton AB April 28
When Slug stopped Atmosphere's tight set to go off about having the best fans in the world, his sincerity was perfectly at home on an eclectic night of serious, if irreverent artistry.

Minneapolis two-piece Attracted to Gods brought their corrosive brand of classic rock to Edmonton, as the featured opening act for Atmosphere's "When God Gives You Ugly" tour. Opening the proceedings, they conjured Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Doors, and hell, even some Junkhouse, but with a punked out energy controlled mostly by gifted guitarist Nate Collis. They seemed like oddballs on a hip-hop bill (Collis reappeared later to play guitar with homeboys Atmosphere) but then again, this wasn't your mom's hip-hop bill.

Hammering this point home, Portland, OR-via-Vancouver-via-Halifax phenomenon Josh Martinez literally pounced on stage with "the eye of the tiger." A master showman, Martinez appeared in a fake wig, bandana, moustache, and the charismatic presence of John Belushi, putting his whole being into an entertaining, audience-involved set. He somehow blew threw songs like "Struts" or the Prairies-baiting "Fight or Fuck," while balancing a beer bottle on his head even ladies grinned at his ode to breasts, "Bobby Loveable." The sound wasn't the best for Martinez's set, muddy and distracting from his vocals, but not bad considering his beats came courtesy of a moody CD player.

When the pride of the Twin Cities hit the stage, the excitement was palpable, as DJ Ant and touring members Collis, vocalist Mankwe Ndosi, and keyboardist Erick Anderson emerged before an appreciative, packed house. As Slug sauntered out during his band's intro music, his mere presence amped up the room as he urged the crowd to scream along to "GodLovesUgly." And scream they had to; the fucked up mix sent Ant's pulverizing bass and drums roaring through the room, drowning out the other players yes, but more importantly, Slug's voice. Die-hards weren't affected by this, rapping along to expressive versions of "In Her Music Box," a skittering revision of "Yesterday," and an appropriately angst-y "Fuck You Lucy."

"Oh you know that one too, huh," Slug intoned playfully but it was obvious that Atmosphere give their all live because they get it all back and more from their loyal, dedicated following.