Doomtree Blowout VII: Night Six at First Avenue, 12/09/11
|Photos by Nick Wosika|
December 9, 2011
First Avenue, Minneapolis
After five consecutive late-night, high-energy individual performances in the Entry this week, you could have forgiven Doomtree if their sold-out, full-crew set in First Avenue's Mainroom Friday night suffered a bit from the physical and mental strain of executing a rigorous week's worth of gigs. But the five indefatigable emcees showed no ill effects from their previous night's work, hitting the stage amped and animated, while remarkably keeping that energy level high throughout their breathless two-and-a-half-hour set. The group also seemed bolstered by the strong show of support from their dedicated fans (who sold out each of Doomtree's seven scheduled shows during the week), and the opportunity to finally play their fiery No Kings material live for the first time together.
The show started the same explosive way that their new record does, with the incendiary one-two-three opening punch of "No Way," "Bolt Cutter," and "Bangarang" setting the place off while people were still defrosting from the bitterly cold evening outside. Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger let the electric guitar riff that kicks off "No Way" play out for quite a while as the screen in front of the stage slowly raised along with the anticipation level inside of the club, and when the crew finally took the stage the party was indeed on. After P.O.S. led the way on a feisty version of "Bolt Cutter," the club really exploded during "Bangarang," a song that everyone I knew couldn't wait to finally hear live. And the track simply slayed, as the massive beats washed over the rowdy crowd, who sang the vainglorious chorus at top-volume right along with the Doomtree crew.
From there, the show was a fast-paced flurry of bangers from the various emcee's back catalogs and both new and old full-crew anthems, as the band wasted little time with small-talk and instead focused on cranking out one slamming track after another. P.O.S. stirred things up with "Drum Roll (We're All Thirsty), while Sims took over on a rousing version of "Good Times." And while Cecil Otter's "Demon Girl" and Dessa's "Alibi" were both amazing, the fuse was fully lit during the full-crew hits like "Game Over" and "The Grand Experiment."
During a volatile version of "P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life," Stef had to take a moment to clear his throat before unleashing the highly-charged final verse, a reminder of just how much these artists have put themselves and their voices through during their hectic week. But again, there wasn't any rust on the Doomtree machine, as they rolled with the relentless energy of the crowd, who only managed to get wilder as the night went on. Mike Mictlan's "Hand Over Fist" was a propulsive group singalong, while the frustratingly still-unreleased new P.O.S. track "Fuck Your Stuff" whipped everyone into an absolute frenzy (with Stef explaining, "I'm going to put that one out just as soon as I can").
|Photos by Nick Wosika|
But it was the No Kings tracks that everyone was clamoring to hear, as the gorgeous "Little Mercy" still soared even without Channy's delicate backing vocals during the chorus, and the blistering "Own Yours" sounded enormous in the packed club. Dessa slowed things down just a bit on a lovely version of "Dixon's Girl," which was mixed between two boisterous Sims tracks, "Hey You" and "Too Much," making clear just how many truly fantastic songs the Doomtree crew now have in their collective arsenal. And that catalog is only going to grow in the near future, as both Cecil and P.O.S. showed off more blazing new tracks, with everyone losing their shit during P.O.S.'s explosive chorus of "I don't wanna think about it, I just wanna get down." And get down we did, every last one of us.
As the show approached the two-hour mark, it could be understandable if Doomtree dialed things down a bit and simply coasted to the finish line while saving themselves for their show the following night. But that couldn't be further from what happened, as the tireless crew only ratcheted the energy level of the performance up, with raucous versions of new tracks "Beacon," and "Gimme The Go," which was quickly followed by a festive run through of "Gander Back." Perhaps "Gander Back" came a bit too quickly for Dessa, who joked after she finished a stirring version of "The Bullpen" that, "When this song started, I was in the bathroom. I've never moved so fast in my life."
The crew clearly had it in high gear at this point, with each emcee showcasing their own stellar solo material in the mix. Cecil tore it up on an impassioned version of "Rickety Bridge," Mictlan dominated on "Prizefight," Sims blew up on "Burn It Down" and P.O.S. absolutely ripped on "Purexed," thanking the crowd immediately after delivering his verse "We don't blink at what tomorrow might bring (at all)" by saying, "We know you feel the same as we do, because you packed yourself into this motherfucker tonight." And with that, the crew kicked into an untamed version of "Team The Best Team" which ended the main set on an absolute high.
Again, it would have been perfectly fine if Doomtree called it a night at this point, since they had to be exhausted, but they weren't going to go out like that. Not at all. "Drumsticks" kicked off the festive encore in grand fashion, before the whole crew lost themselves in a high-spirited rendition of "Low Life Low Light" that got everyone in the place singing along with the chorus. And, after thanking us one last time, P.O.S. gave props to their hosts for the last week by saying, "First Avenue has been so amazing to us year after fucking year." But when you throw triumphant bashes like this one, why wouldn't they? So with that, Doomtree ushered us back out into the cold Minneapolis night with the exultant, "Fresh New Trash." While their new record is sagaciously called No Kings, after delivering an unforgettable week's worth of uproarious performances like this one, it was made quite clear to all of their fans that Doomtree are now without question Twin Cities rap royalty.
|Photos by Nick Wosika|
Critic's Bias: This was my fifth Blowout (sadly, I had to miss both the inaugural one and last year's festivities), and it was by far my favorite of the bunch.
The Crowd: As packed as First Ave can get, full of Doomtree's friends, family and fans both new and old.
Overheard In The Crowd: "They are all working so damn hard up there on stage."
Random Notebook Dump: It was indeed a wild night at First Avenue, so much so that my trusty notebook is drenched in spilled booze and crowd sweat, so Doomtree's generous setlist (39 songs by my count) isn't 100% accurate.
For More Photos: See our full slideshow by Nick Wosika.
Drum Roll (We're All Thirsty)
The Grand Experiment
P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life
Traveling Drunk Tank
Hand Over Fist
Fuck Your Stuff
New Cecil Otter Track
New P.O.S. Track ("I Just Wanna Get Down")
Gimme The Go
Burn It Down
Team The Best Team
Low Life Low Light (Encore)
Fresh New Trash (Encore)