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'TOUR DE FRIENDS' - Reviewed

- Mitch West

On Tuesday, November 21st, the Admiral in Omaha, Nebraska, was transformed into a haven for underground hip-hop enthusiasts as Atmosphere, HEBL, and NOFUN! brought their highly anticipated "Tour De Friends" to the city. The newly renovated venue, formerly known as Sokol Auditorium, rocked with energy as a packed crowd eagerly awaited the arrival of the Twin Cities' finest. Minneapolis, Minnesota, has long been recognized as a hotbed for underground hip-hop, boasting a vibrant scene that has produced some of the genre's most influential artists. In recent years, the city has even earned the distinction of having more record labels and concert stages per capita than any other, a testament to its enduring contribution to the hip-hop landscape. Last night, Omaha witnessed firsthand the raw talent that has made Minneapolis a music heavyweight. Atmosphere, HEBL, and NOFUN!, three pillars of the Twin Cities underground hip-hop scene, delivered a performance that captivated the audience from start to finish. Each act brought their unique style and energy to the stage, showcasing the diversity and depth of the Minneapolis hip-hop scene.

NOFUN! at The Admiral 11.21.23 Photo Credit: @thatonemitchkid

NOFUN!, a multi-genre group known for their electrifying stage presence, brought their infectious energy to the Admiral in Omaha, Nebraska. The nine-member crew, comprised of Huebline, Mother Wata, Levi Evans, Louie Lambo, Garrett Gloom, WADE08, Zoodeville, Dave Coresh, and Swann, took full command of the stage, climbing into the crowd and interacting with fans throughout their set. Each MC brought their unique lyrical style to the performance, showcasing their individual talents. NOFUN!'s setlist included fan favorites like "Get Faded!", "Spend It!", "STOP DROP and ROLL!", and their recent unreleased track "8-Mile", which captivated the audience from start to finish. The group's playful antics, including rolling around, fake fighting, piggyback riding, and a LOT of laughter, added to the raucous atmosphere. Their set culminated in a high-energy performance of "DAYTRIP!", leaving the crowd buzzing with excitement. Following their performance, NOFUN! greeted fans at their merch table, further solidifying their connection with the audience. Overall, NOFUN!'s set was a jolt of energy, leaving the crowd exhilarated and ready for more.

HEBL at The Admiral 11.21.23 Photo Credit: @thatonemitchkid

HEBL, renowned for his dark, experimental electronic music, brought his signature soundscapes to Omaha's Admiral stage. His minimalistic arrangements and heavy use of low-end frequencies created a mesmerizing atmosphere, while his signature use of samples added layers of intrigue. HEBL's set served as a welcome respite following NOFUN!'s intense performance, providing the audience with a chance to recharge and immerse themselves in his unique sonic world. The addition of an LED wall behind him, displaying live footage of his hands working their magic, further enhanced the visual experience, captivating the crowd and making them feel like they were part of the performance. Overall, HEBL's set was a testament to his mastery of atmospheric soundscapes and his ability to transport listeners to another world.

Atmosphere at The Admiral 11.21.23 Photo Credit: @thatonemitchkid

Legendary hip-hop duo Atmosphere, known for their introspective lyrics and soulful production, took the stage for an unforgettable performance. Atmosphere consisting of rapper Slug (Sean Daley) and producer Ant (Anthony Davis) formed in 1996, the duo has released thirteen studio albums and ten extended plays, earning critical acclaim for their introspective, often dark lyrics and soulful production in their music helping solidify Minneapolis as one of the best underground hip-hop scenes in the country and one of the overall one of the best around the world. Their music blends elements of hip-hop, alternative rock, and jazz, and their live shows are known for their raw energy and Slug's charismatic stage presence. The duo has been praised for their honest and relatable storytelling, which often explores themes of addiction, mental health, and personal struggles. Atmosphere has also been credited with helping to pioneer the underground hip-hop scene in Minneapolis, and their influence can be heard in the work of many younger hip-hop artists. "Omaha! How the fuck are y'all feeling?!" Slug said hyping the crowd up with Ant on the ones and twos. You could tell they were soaking in the moment, yes even after all these years and sold-out shows you could tell that the excitement and amazement still hit them every. That's the moment they live for. "Had no idea you'll be going to t-bone me with all that noise". Atmosphere took us for a storytelling nostalgic lyrical ride through his discography last night. Atmospheres set included classics 'Puppets', 'Shoulda Known', 'Sunshine', 'Guns & Cigarettes', and more. The group continues to deliver every single time they hit the stage. You really are watching true masters of the craft at work seeing Atmosphere on stage.

As the crowd dispersed into the night, still buzzing from the electrifying performance, the "Tour De Friends" continued its journey across the Midwest. The next stop on the tour was The Rave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Atmosphere, HEBL, and NOFUN! were set to deliver another unforgettable night of underground hip-hop. On November 24th, the tour would come full circle, returning to its Minneapolis roots for a triumphant homecoming show at the iconic First Avenue venue. The following day, the tour concludes in St. Paul, Minnesota, at the Palace Theatre, leaving a trail of satisfied fans in its wake.

Before the tour concluded, fans had the opportunity to preorder their copy of the "Talk Talk EP," a special release commemorating the "Tour De Friends" experience. The EP, available on vinyl, CD, cassette, and digital platforms, would feature a collection of new tracks and remixes. Additionally, the newly released single "Rotary Telephone", "Talk Talk" and "Traveling Forever" is available for streaming on all major platforms. For those eager for more, Atmosphere would headline the Rise Up Concert Series on January 6th at St. Pete Pier in St. Petersburg, Florida.


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