Doomtree Blowout VII: Night Seven at First Avenue, 12/10/11

Categories: Last Night
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Photos by Nick Wosika
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. 

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Photos by Nick Wosika
​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.

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Photos by Nick Wosika
Set List:

No Way
Bolt Cutter
Bangarang
Drumroll
One Dimensional Man
Game Over
Grime
Seamstress
The Grand Experiment
P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life
Slow Burn
Rebel Yellow
Traveling Dunk Tank
Flex
String Theory
OMG!
Hand Over Fist
Fuck Your Stuff
Sufficiently Breathless
Little Mercy
Hey You
Dixon's Girl
Too Much
Own Yours
Beauty Is So Ugly
Punch-Out
Get Down
Beacon
Gimme The Go
Kid Gloves
The Bullpen
Rickety Bridge
The Wren
Prize Fight
Burn It Down
Purexed
Team The Best Team

Encore:
Drumsticks
Low Light Low Life
Fresh New Trash





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13 comments
HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

What I quoted was the only instance of anything but fanboy slobbering in the entire piece. I know it's difficult for people to be critical of their friends and the people they admire, but not every MN music lover is a diehard Doomtree fan, so it would be nice to read reviews that didn't just assume you think the group is "the stuff of legend." The only things close to analysis were the song descriptions, and those mostly didn't get much further than "bombastic," "back-to-back bangers," "triumphant," and "some truly epic songs." Granted, here was a great little section: [The] 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. This is an actual moment, with specific detail and humor. But the great majority of the piece is just generalized description of how fast-paced and subjectively enjoyable the experience was. So again, fine blog post, crappy concert review. I might be taking this too seriously, I know, but it's just troubling that so many writers value hyperbole and grandiose description over argument and critical perspective, because when everything is described as awesome and legendary, it makes truly amazing moments meaningless.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

Besides the near-total absence of genuine criticism in this article, I'm struggling to understand how a person could be "aggressively humble."

Guessed
Guessed

So, if you, Mr. Gurdy, ever did experience a truly amazing moment, a great fucking show, you'd be at a loss for words? What would your "argument" be?

Ducasse
Ducasse

"Aggressively humble" is poetic genius. Hurdy, if you knew anything about poetry you would recall what Reverdy said: that poetry is the juxtaposition of two distant realities and the greater the distance that the writer can bridge, the greater the poetic reality. All intelligent, perceptive readers understood what Spencer meant in those two words, but it took a whole paragraph to explain it to you, Hurdy. You should read more and write less.

Jack Spencer
Jack Spencer

I tried to shove maybe too large an idea into those two words. Doomtree have the most influence and the loudest voices they ever have, especially locally but also in a big way nationally, and they're using that voice to say that no one should be above anyone else. It's a risky thing to promote as artists, whose livelihood is often dependent on seeming larger than life. As musicians rise in prominence, there comes a point where it's next to impossible to remain seen as a regular-ass human being, no matter how you carry yourself. People treat you differently and feel different about you when they see you if you have the status to sell out a weeks worth of shows. To make money in music, you need to get to this point, even if it conflicts with your own philosophical beliefs. Thus, being "aggressively humble" is being humble against all odds, like going to a small club and milling around with people who are there because they are in awe of you. It takes real effort to maintain the stance of being a normal person when your job is based on everyone thinking otherwise.

Okay, now you get to define "genuine criticism" for me.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

Luckily, I live in the Twin Cities, where almost every show by a popular local act is totally transcendent, especially if  the acts are (completely coincidentally) in the same social webs as the people writing the reviews, so there's no need for subtlety. What a great time for logic this is, when someone who disagrees with you is a hater, and you're attacked for suggesting that a concert was not reviewed with an objective eye.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

That's bullshit. You can't be aggressive with your humility, and his follow-up description is essentially "they try really hard to seem like normal people, while surrounding themselves with people who are in awe of them." This piece is not a poem about Doomtree; it's an attempted REVIEW of a concert. I don't read reviews to journey through poetic contradictions and paradox. I think most people look to reviews for thoughtful and concise analysis, unless they are the type who reads things like this to validate their already-held belief in the value of the music.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

Briefly, "genuine criticism" is an attempt to objectively and honestly analyze a work of art, including its shortcomings, successes, and role in the greater context of its genre or medium. This piece of writing is the subjective and excited blog post of a Doomtree fan. Here is the closest you got to a "shortcoming" criticism:

"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 . . ."

Even when you're insightfully critiquing the work you backpedal by calling it "commendable." 

I'm glad you enjoyed the show, and that so many people seem to feel a sense of community because of Doomtree. But your piece isn't much more than "what a great fucking show that was!" And in the end, that's fine if people know they're not reading a genuine, critical concert review; and if the author doesn't pretend they're writing one.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

Thanks for your concern over my spiritual well-being; I appreciate but respectfully decline your life coaching. I'll just stick to being honest.

Ducasse
Ducasse

Sorry. I meant it as friendly advice: if you opened your mind up to poetic contradictions, you may find the world makes more sense and your life is more enriched.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

Ok. And you can stick to insulting people who don't share your point of view, then telling them what to do after searching through their profile in an act much closer to predatory trolling than anything I do.

Ducasse
Ducasse

You don't read reviews to journey through poetic contradictions and paradox? Perhaps you should. Or stick to trolling the food reviews.

Guessed
Guessed

So, Mr Gurdy, you neutralized your own complaint about addressing shortcomings by providing the evidence that proves you wrong. What's left to complain about, then? How one writes a review of a fucking great show?

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