Photos by Ryan Siverson. We called in the team on this one. You can see all of his stunning photos of Blowout VII on his flickr!
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect coming into Friday night’s Doomtree BlowoutVII. I asked friends who had gone in the past what it was like and was met with one of two responses:
1. What do you mean you’ve never been to a Doomtree (DTR) Blowout?
2. It’s a good time just be ready for anything.
Ignoring my inner monologue, which went something like- “So I’m behind the curve for a MN music fan and no one knows what to expect? Cool.” I ventured to downtown Minneapolis and hopped in line. A shivering group next to me compared stories of run-ins with the Doomtree Collective, each person outdoing the next when it came to tales of genuine niceness and mutual respect. It isn’t every day a music group of any kind can claim this sort of track record.
As the doors opened, the crowd streamed in from the cold with intoxicating anticipation. People of all ages and backgrounds were in attendance, including the most hipster kid to the biggest hip-hop head. It felt like everyone from the Twin Cities was in the building for a family reunion. Only this was the kind of reunion you wanted to go to and no one forced you to look through vacation photos.
The stage had a simple set up with a large banner hanging behind turntables that sat on a black clothed table. A runway attached to the stage was quickly surrounded with fans flooding the floor from all sides. Narrow banners strung from the ceiling along the back of the venue featured symbols from No Kings and staff members sported DTR shirts in celebration of the night.
I settled into a spot on the balcony overlooking the masses and finally understood why I was told the Blowout held at First Avenue is something to experience first hand. Much like the group itself, First Avenue runs like a well-oiled machine with a whirlwind of energy. There is little patience for asshole-ism and if you leave all attitudes at the door, you will be embraced with a massive bear hug; much like I imagine it would’ve been like to hug Chris Farley- happily until your ribs are sore. All of these factors make this a recipe for a stellar night of music.
At show time, Paper Tiger and Lazerbeak positioned themselves behind their turntables as MC’s, P.O.S., Cecil Otter, Sims, Dessa and Mike Mictlan burst on stage and got right down to business. BlowoutVII kicked off with the first track from No Kings titled “No Way.” The high-energy anthem was not lost on the hyped up audience. “Bolt Cutter” and “Bangarang” followed suit and cemented the tone for the evening.
Over 30 songs from the Doomtree catalog and its MC’s poured from the stage without a single misstep. The set list didn’t follow a consistent formula but generally the crew would perform together, each member backing each other as individuals performed songs from their own albums.
Quiet moments allowed for crowd sing-a-longs to tracks like “Alibi” and “Dixon’s Girl” from Dessa and Cecil Otter’s “Rickety Bridge” and “Rebel Yellow.” However most of the show could be described as an epic rap dance party.
From Sims leaping off of the stage into the crowd during “Earthquaker” with the hook “I don’t wanna think about it, I just wanna get down,” to P.O.S. debuting “Fuck Your Stuff,” Mike Mictlan’s “Hand Over Fist” it was a nonstop, sweaty, hands in the air, jump up and down marathon.
Towards the end of the show, the crew left for a quick breather only to welcome Paper Tiger and Lazerbeak on stage to own the room for a few minutes before everyone came back out. The encore included “Drumsticks,” “Low Light Low Life” and wrapped up with “Fresh New Trash.”
The Doomtree Collective exudes passion and then some. At one point Dessa and Sims clicked mics as if they were toasting each other over drinks and it’s in moments like this, that you can tell they all love what they do. What is even more impressive is that they have found an audience that is along for the ride, showing their support from start to finish.
Doomtree is very much a family and all who go to their shows become a small extension of it. I can’t answer why it took so long for me to get to a Blowout but now that I have, I will never miss another.
Doomtree Blowout VII Setlist:
The Grand Experiment
POS 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