1. The Sayers Club works even better for hip-hop than for full bands, because there’s no sonic competition between instrument stage volume and PA inside its intimate setting. The room’s layout also encourages fans to crowd in tight, and Sunday night’s reward was a close-quarters rhyme-fest.
2. Doomtree brought along fellow Minneapolis rapper Astronautalis, who has made his name by winning freestyle rap battles, to open. So what suggestions do you get from a Las Vegas crowd at midnight? Mario Kart, legalizing weed (of course), mountain climbing, crappy bars and the universe.
3. Doomtree’s live setup: two DJs at the back—Paper Tiger mixing on tables and Lazerbeak layering beats with a drum machine. Up front, five MCs flood the stage, flowing forward with the verses.
4. Doomtree holds a clear reverence for vintage house-party jams, and it’s refreshing to witness a hip-hop show without tracked vocals. Every inflection, echo, double, harmony and melody is performed live by an actual rapper, giving the performance real organic power.
5. When I interviewed Doomtree producer Lazerbeak last week, he said, “I love our records, but our live shows are the reason people have stuck with us.” It’s hard to disagree. Beyond talent and tight performance, the seven members’ sheer energy stood out most.