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.

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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.

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