Doomtree Blowout VII: Night Seven
December 10, 2011
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Saturday's all-ages performance at First Ave marked the culmination of a week's worth of shows for the Doomtree crew, who showcased both their individual talents with solo shows in the Entry and their power as a unit with back-to-back Mainroom performances.
Spreading this year's Blowout over seven days allowed the artists to achieve what they've always strived for: Proving themselves as solo performers while maintaining a tight-knit force as a singular faction. The nights in the Mainroom found all seven members performing as one. They gave everything they had for two and a half straight hours, seamlessly moving from solo song to crew record without ever lapsing in ferocity.
"We're all fuckin' out of breath, even when we're not playing a song," Sims announced late in the set before performing "Burn It Down," the bombastic lead single from his sophomore solo album Bad Time Zoo. The crowd responded dutifully to every ounce of energy coming from the stage, rarely dropping their hands or failing to react to the hard drums and rapid-fire vocals. Many in the crowd knew a large majority of the words by heart. It's a rare thing to see such a command over a large audience, further proof that Doomtree have built an impressive lane for themselves in this city. "This was some unprecedented shit that you helped us pull off," Sims said as the show concluded. "We mean it when we say 'Thank you.'"
Doomtree has maintained an aggressively humble and unendingly appreciative outlook, and truly put in work to give something special to the audience that have supported them during their 10-year existence. The collectivist mantra that pervades their latest album No Kings led to new songs that feel muddied on first listen, blunting individual voices in favor of a more unified collaborative sound. It's a unique and commendable effort that doesn't always connect in the way previous albums have, though seeing the new material performed live proved that Doomtree may well be the strongest rap crew out. Each MC is on an even keel skill-wise, each beat is as impressively crafted as the last, and every member is a powder-keg on stage. No one works as methodically as they do in concert, and the new album admirably attempts to rile their stage ethic into their songwriting. This is a next to impossible task, given the Blowout's consistently insane nature that only grows with each passing year.
Closing with four back-to-back bangers (Mictlan's "Prizefight," Sims' "Burn It Down," P.O.S.' s "Purexed," and the triumphant "Team the Best Team") before coming out to play a three-song encore, the crew concluded a well-chosen and long set with some truly epic songs that left few motionless. You have not seen a hype audience if you've never been to a Blowout. New P.O.S. track "Get Down" is maybe the best example, with a stuttering electronic blast of intensity that combines the political-mindedness of his previous work with dumb-out club sounds that forcibly move asses. He even asked the audience at one point to stop moving entirely, before telling them to completely lose their shit when the song hit its apex. Coupled with new Cecil tracks "Grime" and "Beauty Is So Ugly," the new solo material they've unveiled sounds amazing and proves that it's not just audience's familiarity that prompted their reactions.
The absolute upheaval Doomtree inspires is the stuff of legend, and this year they managed to up the ante even further. It's not a simple thing to do a yearly event that grows as immensely as the Blowout has, and Doomtree continue to work hard as hell to prove they have it in them to push forward.
One Dimensional Man
The Grand Experiment
P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life
Traveling Dunk Tank
Hand Over Fist
Fuck Your Stuff
Beauty Is So Ugly
Gimme The Go
Burn It Down
Team The Best Team
Low Light Low Life
Fresh New Trash