Not all bands can excel in every kind of venue, as those who attended the August 14 Atmosphere show at Red Rocks discovered during the Eyedea & Abilities set. The Minnesota pair, whose collective moniker obscures the identity of emcee Michael Larsen and DJ Gregory Keltgen, didn't adjust their approach for the enormous venue — a miscalculation that caused their performance to seem forced, self-indulgent and irritatingly solipsistic. And yet much of the material they played live actually sounds good on By the Throat, their latest album for the Rhymesayers imprint. That "Spin Cycle" stands out isn't surprising: The tune was the highlight of their Red Rocks performance, and it's arguably the single strongest tune they've recorded to date. However, "Burn Fetish," "Junk," the title cut and plenty more also work thanks to Abilities' adventurous musical settings and Eyedea's more varied and nuanced delivery — all of which should come across better in a club than in an amphitheater.
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