***UPDATE: For those Blowout ticketholders who choose to stay home tonight, Doomtree and First Ave aren't leaving you out in the cold: They just announced the "Doomtree Snowout" on Sunday night in
7th Street Entry First Ave main room, for which tickets to tonight's show will be honored. New tickets can also be bought for $15, or $5 with a ticket stub from either show. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Sort of like the snowfall today in the Twin Cities, the music on opening night of Doomtree’s Blowout VI refused to let up. I kept waiting for an intermission so I could pop my head into the Entry, but it never happened. Heck, I had trouble even finding a lull in the momentum, as the seven-member hip-hop crew and various support players maintained a constant intensity level well past midnight (well over the three-hour mark).
Doomtree went all out to make its two-night affair at First Ave something special. A giant ice sculpture with the crew’s winged logo greeted fans at the entrance, like something out of a wedding buffet line. A runway ran from the stage over the middle of the dancefloor, like something out of a Bon Jovi concert. There was also a holiday side to the event: A giant Christmas tree stood on stage, presents were tossed into the crowd, and Sims repeatedly talked up his new album due in February as if he were an Angel of the Lord harking and heralding the birth of the Christ Child. A couple of the songs he performed off the record did indeed sound divine, especially the hyper first single, “Burn It Down.”
P.O.S., Mike Mictlan and Cecil Otter all took turns strutting out onto the runway early in the show to deliver songs off their respective solo albums, including “Goodbye,” “Drumroll,” “Hand Over Fist,” Slow Burn” and “Sufficiently Breathless.” Cecil was suffering from a raspy voice – “I ate Tom Waits for breakfast,” he quipped – but he obviously had plenty of hype-men to help him out. Many of the songs were also hyped up with some auxiliary players, including drummer Dave Brockschmidt (Millionth Word) and sonic wiz Ryan Olson (Gayngs). Doomtree's resident beat/production gurus Paper Tiger and Lazerbeak were behind the decks for most of the night.
The only change in the show’s tempo came about a third of the way through, as Dessa symbolically changed out of her hip-hop/butt-kicker gear into a slinky black dress. With help from her cool little live combo -- led by Heiruspecs bassist Sean McPherson and Abby Wolf on backup vocals -- she offered up extra-jazzy, stylish versions of some of her “Badly Broken Code” songs, including “Matches to Paper Dolls” and “Dixon’s Girl.”
Things didn’t stay mellow for long, though (in fact, a little more would’ve been nice). Dessa came back out in a muscle shirt as she and the boys rapidly took turns at the mic, highlighted by some of the tracks from their all-crew 2008 “Doomtree” CD, including “Game Over” and “Gander Back.” P.O.S. finished it off with “Purexed.” Coming back to kick off the encore, Mictlan summed up the extra bit of pride the crew can take from joining the upper-echelon of local acts that can fill First Ave on consecutive nights : “We did it with our friends, and we did it ourselves,” he said.
I sincerely hope they pull it off again tonight without too much hassle from the snow. In all seriousness, be extra careful if you still plan on making the show, and don’t think twice about skipping it if you don’t have a safe means of getting there and home. You can bet they’ll be doing this again next year.