Doomtree Blowout VI
December 10, 2010
First Avenue, Minneapolis
There was no stopping the Doomtree crew Friday night, as the five emcees, two producers, and smattering of special guests kept the momentum pushing forward for a solid three hours of nonstop music.
[jump] After a brief DJ set by Paper Tiger and before any of the emcees had taken the stage, Maggie Morrison came out to perform a track from Paper's new album, Made Like Us, in front of the sold-out crowd. Aside from her work in improvisational electro-jam group H.U.N.X., where her voice is often buried in a mix of churning beats and whirs and hums, it was Morrison's first time singing in front of a crowd since the demise of her successful electro-pop project Lookbook.
"It felt so good to really sing out and perform for people again," Morrison gushed later that night, as she ran around the club with a fire in her eye.
After her performance, Lazerbeak came out with an electric guitar to perform three songs off his new album, Legend Recognize Legend, backed by Dessa, singer Ashley Gold, and more of his "Ensemble of Legendz." Lazerbeak's chilled-out, gravelly indie rock was a great way to ease the crowd into what would come next, and the audience really seemed to respond to his single "Salt and Sea" (which has been getting some airplay of late).
The full crew came bobbing out next for two of their most bombastic tracks, "Flex" and "Drumsticks," Lazerbeak slinking to the back of the stage to man turntables and cue up beats with Paper Tiger, and the crowd went absolutely apeshit. The energy in the venue was amazing, and with a catwalk extending out into the center of the room it was one of the more packed shows I'd seen in the Mainroom. A sea of faces and arms flung themselves at the group from every direction, and the crew responded by weaving one song into the next and ratcheting the momentum up as far as it could go.
After the pair of full-crew songs the emcees started rotating through their own material, taking turns playing miniature sets. P.O.S., Mike Mictlan, and Sims delivered hyperactive sets that pushed forward and almost rushed a bit, like they couldn't wait for what would come next, and Cecil Otter got a little more introspective on his raps, apologizing for his croaky throat by scoffing that he "ate Tom Waits for breakfast."
The first real changeover of the night came with Dessa's set, when she donned a black dress similar to the one she wore at this year's album release show at the Fine Line and brought out her own live backing band for three songs off of this year's wildly successful <i>A Badly Broken Code</i>. At this point in the show I took a breather upstairs to get away from the sometimes suffocating closeness of the crowd on the main floor, but the crowd's appreciation of Dessa's work was noticeable even in the far upper reaches of the club.
After another quick changeover the full crew was back and bursting through songs at an even quicker pace than before, rotating through emcees in short two-song bursts and focusing their hyped-up stage banter on Sims' forthcoming record, which is due out February 15, and his new single "Burn it Down."
Even after three hours on stage and an encore, it was clear the crew was far from tired, with their energy as a group serving as a renewable resource that could continue replenishing itself forever. Sure enough, the crew came back Saturday amidst the Snowmageddon for a show they tagged "Doomtree Snowout," then back again on Sunday for a last-minute Mainroom show to accommodate fans who couldn't make it out during the blizzard. After a wildly fun and fiery weekend, there's no doubt that the group is already hard at work planning out next year's Blowout 7.
<b>Personal bias:</b> My Doomtree fandom has been a slow-burning affair; each time I see them I seem to appreciate them more and more.
The crowd: Young -- Friday's show was 21+ but most attendees I saw were just over the legal drinking age and acting like they just learned how to party. Ridiculous amounts of drama seemed to be unfolding at every turn in the packed crowd.
Random notebook dump: Loved Dessa's introduction to "Seamstress": "Let's play a sad creepy song!"
I tried, I really did. But only ended up with a partial set list. Here's the general flow of the evening:
Paper Tiger DJ set
Maggie Morrison solo
Lazerbeak 3 songs
Full crew: "Flex," "Drumsticks"
P.O.S. on lead: "Goodbye," "Drumroll"
Mictlan on lead: "Hand Over Fist," two more
Sims on lead: "Eyes Wide Open," two more
Cecil Otter on lead: "Rebel Yellow," two more
Dessa: "Matches to Paper Dolls," "Dixon's Girl," "The Chaconne"
Full crew: one song
P.O.S. on lead: "Let it Rattle," "Stand Up," "Optimist"
Full crew: "Gander Back," "Game Over," two more
Sims: New song, "Kid Gloves"
Cecil Otter: two songs
Dessa: "Seamstress," duet with P.O.S.
Full crew: "The Wren"
Sims: "Burn it Down"
Full crew: "Let Me Tell You, Baby"
"Low Light Low Life"