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Nathaniel Rateliff to play Sanders rally Monday ahead of State Theatre gigs

Nathaniel Rateliff has played many Twin Cities gigs going back to Rock the Garden in 2016, and now he has three here next week. / Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

Nathaniel Rateliff has played many Twin Cities gigs going back to Rock the Garden in 2016, and now he has three here next week. / Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

When we talked to him by phone earlier this week, "S.O.B." soul-rocker Nathaniel Rateliff seemed indifferent to the fact that his first of two shows Tuesday night at the State Theatre happens to fall on the presidential primary, aka Super Tuesday, in Minnesota. But he did make it clear where he stands in the contest.

“I’m a Bernie [Sanders] man all the way, and have been for a long time,” said the Night Sweats frontman, who has since been confirmed to perform at a rally for Sanders at St. Paul RiverCentre on Monday night. 

Rateliff is touring with a different group this time around to tout a mellower solo album, and their first full shows are the nearly sold-out pair Tuesday and Wednesday in Minneapolis. He mentioned that he and his Denver-based crew will be in town to rehearse on Monday ahead of the tour kickoff, but he said nothing about the rally. He is one of the most high-profile musicians to play such an event in support of one candidate so far in the primary season.

Rateliff did, however, talk about the tiptoe act he and other musicians may have to walk in this heavily politicized election year.

“[The Night Sweats] have a very diverse fan base, so I try to bridge the gap and bring people together more than I want to add to the divide,” he said. “But when it makes sense, I don’t hesitate to speak my views. Honestly, I see promoting positive change and trying to help out our country as more important than my career.” 

Information on the Sanders rally and an RSVP can be found via the campaign site (5:30 p.m. doors, 7:30 p.m. start). Read our full interview with Rateliff in print in Monday’s Variety section or online next week. 

Doomtree is back! New song drops alongside news of Palace and First Ave gigs

Dessa and Mike Mictlan at the Doomtree Zoo festival in 2015, the year the crew last new music as a group. / Star Tribune file

Dessa and Mike Mictlan at the Doomtree Zoo festival in 2015, the year the crew last issued new music as a group. / Star Tribune file

The last time all seven members of Doomtree performed together on one recording, Lazerbeak only had one kid at home, and the biggest string section Dessa had worked with was the Laurels String Quartet. The last time they all performed together at First Avenue, the club only ran one other venue in town, and the Palace Theatre was still a shuttered historic landmark.

The long lull is over, though, as Doomtree just dropped its first new all-crew track in five years while announcing shows at both First Ave and the Palace on May 1 and May 2, respectively.

“Excited to say we got the ol' band back together for a new full-crew Doomtree song,” producer/beatmaker Lazerbeak proudly declared in an email announcing the news.

Titled “Five Alive,” the new track was dropped as a standalone single on a bunch of digital platforms. And no, it's not the precursor to an album; this is it for now. The “five” in the title could refer to it featuring each of the Twin Cities hip-hop crew’s rappers: Dessa, Cecil Otter, Sims, Mike Mictlan and P.O.S., the latter of whom kicks it off over an eerie but bouncy digi-boom beat from Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger.

As for the live gigs, the First Ave set is being looped in as part of the club’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. Doomtree's last show at the ol’ black box was to mark the release of their last all-crew album, “All Hands,” in February 2015 – which followed the last of their unforgettable Blowout series there in 2014. The crew did play the Palace not long after it opened in 2017, but they haven’t done many gigs since then; the Common Sound Block Party was their only show in town last year.

Tickets for both shows will be $35 (or $50 for the Palace’s reserved balcony) and go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via eTix.com and First Avenue outlets. A special in-person pre-sale event is happening Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Depot Tavern, which adjoins First Ave.

Dessa, by the way, also happens to be playing a sold-out First Ave show Thursday night as part of a tour touting her genre-imploding live album with the Minnesota Orchestra.

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