P.O.S. releases We Don't Even Live Here at First Avenue, 10/26/12
Photo By Erik Hess
With Marijuana Deathsquads, Mike Mictlan, Audio Perm, the Tribe and Big Cats!, and DJ Ander Other
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Friday, October 26, 2012
P.O.S. was determined that his sold-out show at First Avenue on Friday night was nothing but a dance party, casting aside any lingering somber notes from his recent announcement that he needs a kidney transplant and instead focusing on the potent batch of new songs that he's spent so long on and is clearly quite proud of. P.O.S. played We Don't Even Live Here straight through in order at the start of his highly-charged 75-minute set, while bringing out the full Doomtree crew to help him dust off some classics at the end, creating a spirited sense of unity and togetherness that inspired and uplifted all of Stef's family, friends, and fans who packed the club to support him.
After wild opening sets by Mike Mictlan, Audio Perm, and the Tribe and Big Cats!, P.O.S. took to the stage with noise alchemists Marijuana Deathsquads, who were rolling 10 people deep for the show, including Polica's Channy Leaneagh on ghostly vocals. The crew crafted a roiling sonic whirlpool, which only seemed to amp up the anticipation levels of everyone in the room, and after 15 minutes most of the band left the stage, leaving drummers Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson with DJ Ander Other and P.O.S., as they officially lit the fuse with a raucous, rhythm-fueled take on "Bumper" that started the set with a shot.
Photo By Erik Hess
P.O.S. then took a moment to thank Deathsquads for playing with him, saying "Before we get into this record, I wanted to play a few songs with the people who inspired how it sounds. We'll wait for another show to really freak people out." But as soon as Mike Mictlan hit the stage to join P.O.S. on "Fuck Your Stuff," the crowd was freaking out anyway, bouncing in time to the heavy beat while screaming Stef's rhymes right back to him.
A soaring "How We Land" was next, and came together well despite the lack of Justin Vernon's vocal part. Stef addressed that quickly before the next number, "Justin's in Poland, so he couldn't do that one with me, and Astronautalis is on tour, so he can't do this one. But I'm going to do this one anyway." And a combative, assured take on "Wanted/Wasted" quickly followed, with the fans filling in admirably for some of Astro's vocals.
"How's home doing, y'all?" P.O.S. then asked us. "It's been a minute since I released a record. Thanks for sticking with me. Thanks for your insane support over the last couple days. I feel like I've been coming apart at the seams, but you all have helped hold me together with all of your comments and your amazing support." It was a touching moment from a true class act, and the only time Stef would address his health struggles during the show. This was his party after all, so he brought out Sims to keep the energy level high, and the two knocked a lively version of "They Can't Come" straight out of the park.
Photo By Erik Hess
"My mom's here, y'all. Make some noise for my mom," P.O.S. insisted before a fiery take on "Lock-Picks, Knives, Bricks and Bats," which found the MC owning the stage alone, growing more impassioned with each passing verse. After the breathless rendition, P.O.S. let us know just how much that song means to him, as if it wasn't obvious from that incendiary live version, "That last one right there is probably my most favorite song that I've written." He then began a mostly a cappella version of "Fire In The Hole," but quit before the track fully transformed into the sonic insanity of its second half, "Arrow To The Action."
"You all ready to act like some ninja turtles in here right now? Like it's a fucking pizza party?" Stef asked us, and with that he and Mike tore into "Get Down," which found everyone in the place collectively losing their shit. The stage filled with Doomtree members and Stef's friends dancing away with reckless abandon, completely lost in the boundless spirit of the infectious track. It was without question one of the best musical moments I've experienced all year, as everyone in the club was, indeed, not even thinking about it and just getting down.
Photo By Erik Hess
P.O.S. seemed a tad bit winded after that track, and who wouldn't be, really? But he still slayed his verses on "All Of It," "Weird Friends," and "Piano Hits," after which he sheepishly asked, "So that's the new record, guys. What do you think? (Huge ovation) I busted my ass on this record, and I like it a lot. Thanks for letting me take risks, y'all." And that served as a transition into the classic portion of the set, with "Music For Shoplifting," "Optimist (We Are Not For Them)" and "Drumroll (We're All Thirsty)" all setting the place off, as the fans shouted out Stef's old rhymes right in time with him.
"Speaking of Doomtree being thirsty all the time, let's bring out Sims, Dessa, Mike, I saw Cecil earlier, where's he at?" And, after they eventually rounded up Cecil, all the Doomtree MC's united for explosive renditions of "Bolt Cutter," "Low Light Low Life" and a triumphant "Bangarang," which got everyone all primed up for Doomtree's Blowout Eight coming up in mid-December.
After the crew left the stage, P.O.S. soaked in the moment and the well-earned ovation. "You guys are the shit. Let's call this one the last one until the next time, OK?" And he closed the encore-less show with a dynamic rendition of "Purexed" that had everyone singing along in full voice. P.O.S. left us with one last heartfelt exultation, "This is some beautiful shit. Thank you so fucking much." No argument here, Stef, that was beautiful. Now get yourself well and let's all do this again real soon.
Photos By Erik Hess
Personal Bias: P.O.S. is my favorite local MC, and We Don't Even Live Here is, in my opinion, the best Minnesota release of the year.
The Crowd: Packed full of Stef's family, friends, and fans who all wanted to do their part to let him know we were there for him.
Overheard In The Crowd: All of Stef's verses, shouted back to him with passion.
Random Notebook Dump: A fund was just set up to help Stef pay for the medical expenses for his eventual kidney transplant. They were looking to raise $25,000 by the start of February. They reached that monetary goal by this weekend. Good on you, people. My hope in humanity has been restored.
Fuck Your Stuff
How We Land
They Can't Come
Lock-Picks, Knives, Bricks and Bats
Fire In The Hole
All Of It
Weird Friends (We Don't Even Live Here)
Music For Shoplifting
Optimist (We Are Not For Them)
Drumroll (We're All Thirsty)
Low Light Low Life
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