As 3-year-old go-getter Lincoln Alexander started into one doughnut too many Tuesday at Glam Doll — ironically avoiding the special cream-puff pastries named the Doomtree — his dad sat across the table talking about how his group has possibly bitten off more than it can chew.
“I haven’t been this nervous or intimidated by something we’ve done since probably the very first Blowout,” admitted the elder Alexander, Stef, aka P.O.S. of the Doomtree hip-hop crew. “Which was sort of the point.”
That something in this case is the Doomtree Zoo, a new one-day outdoor music festival taking place Saturday at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul.
The eight-hour, nine-band event was cooked up as a replacement for the septet’s wildly successful Blowout concerts, which evolved from a single Varsity Theater concert in 2004 to a weeklong marathon of gigs in 2014, including three sold-out First Avenue shows. Even more than the Blowouts, though, the planning and buildup behind Saturday’s Zoo has been unlike anything the DIY crew has tried before.
“I’m on puppets, inflatable slides, face painting, and Double Dutch duty,” Dessa said, listing off her assignments prepping for the big show.
Having just returned from an East Coast tour a day earlier, the two bandmates and their fellow rapper Sims hit Glam Doll Donuts at lunchtime Tuesday to meet fans and pass along a clue for the ongoing Doomtree Pop Quiz, Hot Shot contest, all part of a busy week hyping the Zoo.
Rehearsals also factored into the buildup. Drummer Ben Ivascu (Poliça), keyboardist Eric Mayson (Caroline Smith’s band) and some special guest vocalists were broken in to add to the onstage melee that is a Doomtree set.
While the rest of the group toured in recent months to tout their January album “All Hands,” producer/beatmaker Lazerbeak stayed home and managed the many details of Saturday’s shindig. He said one of the reasons they picked the new Saints ballpark was because “it already had a lot of infrastructure in place, like bathrooms and concessions, so we could focus on other, wackier things.”
In addition to the aforementioned attractions under Dessa’s charge, the group has worked up some visual and musical surprises for Saturday, including roaming performances by Koo Koo Kanga Roo, Anonymous Choir and Aby Wolf. The main stage’s eclectic roster includes remarkably dissimilar indie-rap cohorts Aesop Rock, Shabazz Palaces and Open Mike Eagle, plus Los Angeles punk band Trash Talk.
“Added up, I think the lineup is a pretty good indicator of all the music that inspires us,” P.O.S. said.
Still, he wondered if it was good enough to draw the kind of crowd that justifies the ambitious effort and large setting. CHS Field has only hosted one previous concert, Dr. John’s free Twin Cities Jazz Festival set in June, which drew about 7,500 people.
“We really don’t know what kind of crowd we’re going to get, which is how it was with the first Blowout. We did it to test our draw, and it sold out. And we did it again and again, and it became automatically expected we’d sell out.”
With a smile that may have been partially induced by a sugar high, Papa Alexander added, “It’s nice not knowing what to expect again.”
In its fifth year of spreading our wealth of music around the state, the Minnesota Music Coalition’s Caravan du Nord kicks off again Saturday at Carleton College in Northfield with performances by Solid Gold, Van Stee and Helen Forsythe (7 p.m., $10, all ages), plus free panels for musicians that afternoon. Details at MNmusiccoalition.org. The next du Nord stop is a Caroline Smith-led caravan at the Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing on Oct. 17. …
Speaking of big local hip-hop to-dos, look for an announcement next week on Rhymesayers’ hometown 20th anniversary celebration at Target Center, scheduled Dec. 4. In the meantime, Atmosphere and Dem Atlas released a new collaborative track online last week titled “Finer Things,” timed to their current European tour. …
Big George Jackson, John Beach and Donald “Hye Pockets” Robertson are among the folks to be honored at this year’s Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame ceremony, scheduled Oct. 11 at Wilebski’s in St. Paul. … The historic and really unbeatable Silver Dome Ballroom in Neillsville, Wis., hosts its annual blues fest this weekend with Kent Burnside on Friday and Davina & the Vagabonds plus Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders on Saturday. (SilverBallroom.net). …
Alcohol sales on the Iron Range are in for a sizable dip this weekend thanks to the Iron Range Invasion, a showcase at the Cabooze on Saturday with Rich Mattson & the Northstars, Slamming Doors, Christopher David Hanson, and Paul Metsa with Sonny Earl (9:30 p.m., $8-$10). … After a fallout with the crew behind “Real-Phonic Radio Hour,” St. Paul’s historic James J. Hill Reference Library has partnered with KFAI-FM to put on a new monthly music series called The World Live!. The first installment is scheduled Oct. 15 with South America-rooted local band Alma Andina. Tickets ($10) are on sale via JJHill.org. …
Lots of cool Halloween gigs are on the books and might require advance tickets since it falls on a Saturday this year: Bad Bad Hats plays with “Gremlins” and “Little Shop of Horrors” for the Fitzgerald Theater’s Films at the Fitz series ($15); Mark Mallman and the Blind Shake will no doubt be scary fun at the Turf Club ($10), and WookieFoot’s annual WookieWeen spectacle is on for two nights at the Cabooze ($15-$28). I won’t even mention the December holiday shows yet, but they’re already out there, too.