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Red Bull Music Presents: Doomtree Forest at Familia [Recap]

Doomtree Forest brought the family back together for an unforgettable night

Doomtree Forest 2018 Familia Minneosta
Photo by Joseph Heili

There may be no kings, but the Minnesota rap family that is Doomtree celebrated a reunion at Doomtree Forest Friday night.

Exaggerated by a lack of sufficient AC, the high temps in the Familia HQ venue matched the hot musical performances throughout the six-hour mini-festival.

After walking up a loading dock ramp into the skate park, fans were greeted by a mix of trees, rocks and a wood-panel deck DJ loft and stage made perfect for the Doomtree collective to host.

Kicking off the night, Paper Tiger’s Sick Trim beats welcomed everyone inside before J. Gundersen joined on vocals – moving into the duo’s Cloquet debut.

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Longshot and Lazerbeak then hit the stage where they celebrated both lives lost and lives lived, rapping about human rights and loving yourself. Longshot’s “Dump Trump” t-shirt tied it all together.

Mike Mictlan commanded the stage next, immediately energizing the entire room. Between “Game Over,” “Prizefight” and “Super’Merica,” he worked the crowd with ease, as if chatting and rapping with old friends. Despite medical problems last year, he addressed his return by saying, “I can never give it up – I can never give Doomtree up. Y’all will have to tell the new people how much y’all missed Uncle Mike.”

Cecil Otter was next on the lineup, bringing a musical genre break no one knew they needed. Along with two other musicians on stage, their slow yet driving energy of synths and guitar brought an indie Broken-Bells-meets-Flume sound, which fit into the forest vibe perfectly.

SIMS x AIR CREDITS x ICETEP then changed the sound around once again, playing their futuristic Artería Verité project. Heads all bobbed along to the electric and vocoder-heavy tracks, including “Hologramme,” “Octadant” and “Eye in the Sky.”

The room was warm enough to see steam rising from iced drinks, but that didn’t stop many from dancing along to it all.

P.S. A quick shout-out is in need for the tech crew of the night, which reset the stage time and time again without a hiccup or too much time for the crowd to lose any interest.

Next up was P.O.S x Astronautalis as Four Fists, and they brought the energy. After highlight “G.D.F.R.,” they proclaimed from the stage, “this is a dance song,” as the two jumped right into “Nobody’s Biz.”

And dance the crowd did.

After Four Fists, it was already 10:30, and there were four sets left.

It was then time for Dessa, and she commandeered the stage – along with her live band – as they played through a brim-full 15-minute set with “Good Grief,” a majorly sped-up “Dixon’s Girl,” “5 out of 6,” “Fighting Fish” and an empowered “Fire Drills” finale.

Her signature combination of high-flying rhymes and powerhouse vocals brought a nice female voice to the front, and many were trying to keep up right along.

Who knew you could fit that many kick-ass songs into that short of a set? Dessa did, of course, and to some of the loudest cheers of the night.

That energy continued into Shredders, where P.O.S, Sims, Paper Tiger and Lazerbeak kept everyone boogying through their 2017 Dangerous Jumps album, most notably “Cult 45.”

Then, the stage was cleared, Lazerbeak played his Night Stone project and it was time…

Doomtree hit the stage. And they did so in a truly Minnesotan fashion with “Gray Duck.”

The rappers bobbed, weaved and fluidly moved together on the stage with ease. Performing alongside each other since 2001 probably lends a hand to their powerful stage presence. Going through troves of their music including “Bolt Cutter” “Bangarang” and “Little Mercy,” they really showed no mercy.

The multitude of verses, beats and tracks of Doomtree Forest left bodies simultaneously tired and revitalized by the end of the six-hour night.

While this was the only full-crew Doomtree performance set of the year, the collective truly brought their Minnesota rap community together to appreciate what they all love – the music they get to create and enjoy together.

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