Lazerbeak has a long list of things he’s grateful for. Luckily, he brought more than a handful of them onstage with him Friday night.
Celebrating the release of his latest solo project, Luther, at the Parkway Theater, the newly renovated movie theater was filled with fans, friends and family of the Doomtree producer.
Naming a few, the always smiley quintessential “cool dad” was thankful for his Vodka RedBull, three kids and Jeyca Maldonado, his “Tuesdays With Lazerbeak” podcast partner and co-host for the evening.
The 37-year-old artist said he was afraid to simply play the electronic instrumental album up on stage alone, joking he would bore everyone to sleep.
The solution? An evening spent talking about everything and nothing, performing live music and even meditating with Lazerbeak and guests. Oh, and there were many, many guests.
He prepared the audience from the start in the best, vague way he could: “We’re going to have a cool, weird, vulnerable night!”
And he was absolutely right.
A new-age, hippie instrumental record
Equipped with every tool he needed to produce his wide variety of beats, he started the night musically with the first song off of Luther, “Take Time.”
The heavy ethereal synths of the track, timed along with visuals of cascading waterfalls, vast mountaintops and rippling underwater shots, had every head bobbing (and even swaying) in time to the intricate and syncopated rhythms.
“I wanted to make a new-age hippie instrumental record… and I did!” he said with a laugh.
The album – nearly titled Crystal Daddy – was inspired by the mindfulness and calm he works to integrate into his daily life. He’s so into the lifestyle change that he led the room in his own meditation, complete with closed eyes, controlled breathing and thinking of blue skies.
The night’s interweaving of a podcast/interview format with performance interludes gave the night both a relaxed yet energetic vibe. It allowed all in the room to get to know Beak on an almost intimate level, if they hadn’t already.
Whether he sang “Get Back Up Again” from the Trolls soundtrack with his three kids onstage or recalled stories of his middle school band’s origin and enemies, it was a night for and by him.
“Don’t put the money in the tube!”
A highlight of the hodgepodge of dialogue was a previously unknown tale about the Doomtree bank account.
Long story short, he had been in charge of the $5,000 they made from a sold out Doomtree Blowout show at the Varsity Theater. After the bank didn’t process the deposit correctly, he dug through the dumpsters of a Hennepin Avenue Super America and (somehow) found the Diet Coke-covered receipt.
“Don’t put the money in the tube!” he mused, thinking of what advice to give to his younger self at the bank.
The best part? It turns out not a single member of Doomtree knew this had even happened until that night. Their faces and reactions showed it all.
As if the dialogue and solo DJ sets weren’t enough, Lazerbeak brought a multitude of musical pals onstage for collaborations across the musical spectrum.
Jeff Allen, of his indie band Plastic Constellations, joined for a three-song acoustic guitar jam, including new tracks they’ve written, lyrics printed out on the floor and all.
Also, incredibly, the entirety of Doomtree – Sims, Dessa, Cecil Otter, P.O.S., Mike Mictlan and even Paper Tiger (who surprised everyone 15 minutes before the show started) – joined him for the evening.
Sims started off the hype for these performances with OneHundred and getting everyone on their feet. Moving from tracks like Dessa’s driving “Fighting Fish” to the confident “PRIZEFIGHT” by Mike Mictlan, it was the perfect way to show off Lazerbeak’s impact and range as a producer.
The seemingly dozens of single-song sets, including musicians outside of the collective like Sophia Eris and Longshot, all blended together in a buzz of music and dancing. The night was truly becoming a full-out party from then on.
When they had time with the microphone, many of the performers took a minute to thank Lazerbeak for what he’s done for them professionally, personally and in life in general. His impact obviously stems way beyond the songs and albums fans have enjoyed over the years.
A $60 spider costume from Amazon Prime
“I feel like you said you made an album of non-bangers, but I feel like ‘Winging It’ is a banger,” cohost/emcee Jeyca Maldonado said after he finished the glittering track live. (P.S. She’s right.)
Alone on stage again, his snapback was barely visibly bobbing in front of a projection of what looked like a cross between lens flares, glitter and fireflies. The deep bass, harmonizing vocals and piano riffs reminded everyone that Lazerbeak can create sonic landscapes – as if anyone forgot.
Later on in the night, the third and final song featured from Luther itself came in music video form.
The world premiere of the (still unfinished) clip for “Valley Low,” the album’s last track, featured Lazerbeak training and running on a treadmill. Avoiding too many spoilers before its official release, who knew a $60 spider costume from Amazon Prime could provide so much joy…
“You’ve earned Rap Party 2!”
So, the entirety of the celebration was in honor of the recent release of Luther. But what’s next for Lazerbeak? According to the man himself, the sky’s the limit. But one thing’s for sure – it’ll still be happening in the Twin Cities.
“This city is so near to my heart, even in shitty March weather,” he said, explaining that he’ll never leave this place he calls home, where he is continually supported through all of his creative endeavors.
“I cannot thank you guys enough,” he said. “It wouldn’t be as cool without the artists, but also for the people putting stake in this community. You’ve earned Rap Party 2!”
And with that, the second act of the banging party in the movie theater featured rap duo Shredders, as well as a finale of finales – the entire Doomtree ensemble assembled for “Team Best Team.”
For anyone who hasn’t yet seen them live, the seven artists really are the best team in how they all rap, support and dance beside each other on stage, even though it helps they’ve been doing this for more than a decade.
But despite the plethora of music, endearing conversation and general merriment throughout the evening, the real reason for the celebration was not lost on anyone: Lazerbeak.
He may have been grateful for many things that night, but everyone in that room was grateful for him and all he’s done for the Twin Cities musical community – with Doomtree, Luther and more yet to come.