Doomtree Blowout VIII at First Avenue, 12/14/12
Photo by Erik Hess
Doomtree Blowout VIII night one
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Friday, December 14, 2012
The wings and teeth didn't book another week-long set of shows like last year's Blowout celebration, but that's beside the point. Oh Minneapolis, we have such high standards. Never mind that P.O.S has kidney issues. Or just trying to schedule the seven-person crew that's a rotating band of friends and musicians to play a weekend at the same time is a booking managers nightmare. Let's toast these three shows, and sit back and celebrate. Get down.
Doomtree Day in Minneapolis is Friday, proclaims Mayor Rybak
Slideshow: Doomtree Blowout 8 at First Avenue, 12/14/12
Friday night, the first of a three-show set, started off with Mayor R.T. Rybak as the opening act. He didn't wail out a guitar solo or do his political stage dive as usual, but he did brag and boost about how our hometown artists continue to reach out across the country and inspire many and give hope during trying times. He inflated the ego of Minneapolis musicians a little more before trying to hock some unsold tickets for Sunday's show. He then closed it out by claiming that December 14 should be known as Doomtree Day in Minneapolis. Not sure if this means the Doomtree crew get Pohlad-like tax breaks now or free parking, but hey it's pretty damn cool to have your own day.
Photos by Erik Hess
About an hour later, Doomtree hit the stage after a short multimedia video of them backstage preparing for the show. I've seen this hundreds of times over the years with cheesy metal bands and sugar pop starlets, so it was kind of a tongue in cheek coolness to see these seven pull it off. P.O.S, Sims, Dessa, Cecil Otter and Mike Mictlan all took the stage with mics. Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger towered over them from behind with a stage set up that was bright with lights and simple and clean on design. Two half circles, like an eight lying down backed up the two producers. Drum kits on each side of the stage would set the mood later in the night.
Now for most, rap shows having five people with five different mics is asking for a disaster, but these pros pull it off perfectly trading and sparring back and forth with lyrics, hooks and improvs. Even with a strong bash of songs, the 21-plus crowd was taking awhile to wake up. The older folks couldn't sit back and pound bottles. The older kids had to get involved.
The head banging started to warm up on "Own Yours" but after a couple Surlys and PBRs made it's way through the bloodstream of the crowd the floor finally popped up for "Beacon" and the night was off. Even mic issues and the occasional screw-ups made the night more organic, punk and real. This crew was winning tonight no matter what. Lame crowd? So what, we will throw Mictlan in your face. Sound issues with awkward silence? Dessa will entertain you by dropping to the ground with an impressive display of impromptu splits. Win. Win.
Photos by Erik Hess
As the night continued, each rapper got a solo spot -- and this could have been a coming out party for Mike Mictlan. His set of songs brought power and force almost melting people faces off in the front parts of the T-shaped stage. Sims seemed bigger than normal, and his voice was crisp and clear, with speed and precession, while having fun while at work. It wasn't hard to notice the extra screams from women once he was on stage either, standing out on the track "Fresh New Trash." Cecil Otter seemed introspective as ever. P.O.S. looked great for all that he has been through over the past few months, and you can tell he wanted to stage dive with all his bones, but I'm sure it was against doctors' orders.
Lazerbeak's sound seems to be produced with First Avenue shows in mind as it melts out the speakers, booming around the place banging off the black walls. It's an underlooked part of the show and a main chemical in Doomtree's success over the years.
The crew left the stage for a 15-minute break while the crowd was entertaining by a word-for-word multimedia story by Ander Other, the upcoming DJ and merch table king for the clique. The power eight hit the stage with between six or seven more members on stage, which combined members from the Marijuana Deathsquads, Gayngs and also Sean McPherson and Aby Wolf. The live set was filled with two competitive drummers pounding out classics but was highlighted by "Boltcutter" and was everything seemed to go right.
Photos by Erik Hess
The night closed with full bearded men wearing lumberjack flannels dancing around like little children and spirited women dressed for the weekend doing jumping jacks when "Bangerang" and "Get Down" shut the night down. Every member left the stage exhausted, each shirt drenched in sweat, each soul filled with accomplishment with another victory. With nights like these it wouldn't be hard to imagine this team being back here eight years from now still pouring out bangers and hard work, I don't think Mayor Rybak has enough days on the calendar to donate away for that.
The Crowd: Hipster beard count: 12. Surly Furious Can Count: 9. Girls around me gushing with Ryan Gosling references for a certain Doomtree member: endless.
Random Detail: For how musically talented the Doomtree collective are, the creative design talent must be recognized as well. The "No Kings" logo is genius, and most Doomtree graphic packaging should be taught in most art schools. The stage design over the years have been great and I don't know if that's Paper Tiger, MK Larada, Adam Garcia or Ander Other or someone else's influence? But it's been damn good. Congrats. A+.
Overheard: I used to work with (enter Doomtree member here) followed by random useless story, echoed around during the breaks at the main bar downstairs.
Personal Bias: For all the praise this collective gets from the press, they probably get equal the amount of hate from local rappers who don't have 1/4 of the following these guys have gained, earned and achieved over the years. This crew is ten years deep and still going strong and there are golden reasons for that; originality, hustle, networking and humility. Other rappers should take notes and learn.
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