[follow id = “Brenna_Swanston”]
Mid-morning light drifted from tall windows above the bleachers in the Recreation Center main gym, drowning out the piercing blue stage lights below. It was 11 a.m., and hip-hop duo Atmosphere was about to take the stage.
Atmosphere opened the show to explosive cheers from a gym full of Cal Poly students who seemed to know every lyric to every song.
Rapper Sean Daley (Slug) took a moment between the first two songs to acknowledge the unusual show time. He thanked the crowd for taking the time between their classes to come watch, then took a swig from his cup of coffee.
“When I started rapping, I forgot to stipulate a contract that I wouldn’t rap before 10 p.m.,” he said. “But that’s good, because now I’m here with you.”
The duo continued the show with its new single “Kanye West,” which demanded listeners to “put your hands in the air like you really do care.” The audience acted accordingly and transformed into a sea of arms pumping up and down in sync.
As the song ended, Daley cupped his hand to his ear and leaned toward the audience.
“What’s that you say?” he asked. “What’s that?”
He stood up straight and gestured toward his DJ and other half, Anthony Davis (Ant).
“Oh,” Daley said. “They’re saying, ‘Anthony Davis, why don’t you play something we fucking recognize?’”
Immediately, the room filled with a keyboard riff everyone knew. It was time for “Sunshine.”
The whole crowd danced and rapped along. A few audience members climbed onto their friends’ shoulders to get a better look; one lifted his crutch into the air, waving it back and forth with the beat.
Next up was “Always Coming Back Home to You.” Daley involved his fans as much as possible: He demanded they “look around,” at which point the ocean of heads swiveled back and forth. When he told them to “look at the ground,” they all obeyed again.
“Don’t you love that firm-looking ground?” Daley said. “Don’t you just want to make love to it?”
The spectators laughed, and not for the last time. Later, Daley asked them to “put your butt-squeezin’ hands up in the air.”
The gym filled with laughter as a drove of hands thrust into the air, emulating Daley’s squeezing motions.
For child development senior Erika Kimball, Atmosphere’s sense of humor is one of the group’s biggest selling points.
“They’re really funny and genuine,” Kimball said. “They’re a good time.”
Daley moseyed toward the back of the stage, where Davis stood with the soundboard.
“Can I live a little?” Daley asked. “Can I have some fun?”
The crowd screamed with approval, and Daley ran to Davis’s side.
“Sorry I swear so much,” he said. “I didn’t go to college. I learned my words on the street. Can I show you a little of what I learned?”
Daley showed off; he and Davis began to spin together, kicking off “Bam,” the seventh track on the group’s 2005 album You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having.
Afterward, he stepped back toward the front of the stage.
“That means nothing to you, but for me, that was like the highlight of my year,” Daley said in reference to his stint as a DJ.
Atmosphere kept up the show with “The Woman With the Tattooed Hands,” “Happiness” and another everybody knew: “Yesterday,” the first two notes of which were stifled by screams of recognition.
At 12:05 p.m., the gym began to empty as some students headed to class. But Atmosphere was not finished.
Daley announced the last song of the afternoon, “Lovelife,” and commended his audience for clapping on two and four.
Then came another “last song,” and another and another — until finally, the show was actually finished.
“Take care of yourself,” Daley said in farewell. “Have a good night — good morning — whatever the fuck time of day it is.”
Graphic communication senior Katie Bannon said despite its awkward timing, the show was a success.
“It was so amazing,” Bannon said. “Plus it was free. We should do way more of these, because it got us all together.”
“It seemed like everyone was having a good time, even though it was earlier in the day,” he said. “I would do it again.”