P.O.S. and Dosh (Friday, July 1st, 2005, Minnesota Museum of American
P.O.S. (above) and Dosh (below)
By Taylor Carik
On a summer night, the Minnesota Museum of American Art’s
patio may be the best venue in town. Overlooking the river in downtown
St. Paul ---with the lights and fireworks of The Taste of Minnesota---the
backyard-sized space provided a relaxing and intimate setting. And the
MMA's art was as fun and engaging as the performances. Dosh
and P.O.S. made the most of it Friday night.
Doomtree's P.O.S. shared a secret with the several dozen
people in attendance: The metal box up on stage with him---the one labeled
"Rap Kit"--- had just his IPod in it. That was it. Not mixing
machines or drum sticks or any of the stage full of goodies that Dosh
used in beginning the night, just an IPod. But the incredible success
of Friday's show wasn't about the instruments; it was about what they
did with them.
Take Dosh's set. Surrounded by a bare bones drum kit, a keyboard, a tricked-out
toy drum machine and various other unorthodox instruments, Dosh swung
around in his musical command center, producing variously complex and
emotional walls of rhythmic sound, turning on-the-spot recordings, manipulations
and loops into entertaining compositions.
If such a stunt sounds complicated, it is. It was a sonic spectacle, nothing
short of a one-man electric-orchestra. Unfortunately, as a result, the
crowd sat attentive and still, respectfully, as if to an artist presenting
his art. What Dosh does undoubtedly deserves inspection. But it's also
funky as hell. He furiously kicked out crazy beats on everything he had
with him, yet folks scattered in seats and picnic tables on the patio
sat stone-faced in visible contemplation. When Dosh wrapped up, people
applauded almost genteelly.
Passive behavior didn't suit follow-up MC P.O.S. P.O.S. hooked up his
rap kit, did his mic check, and promptly rearranged the audience closer
to the stage. After Dosh---and a few $3 beers---the crowd loosened up,
ditched their hip defensiveness, and moved closer to the action.
After a good ten minutes of banter, P.O.S. jumped into the performing
that has garnered him and his colleagues in Doomtree a fair amount of
hype. His singing voice, used more than a few times last night, left some
room for improvement, but his rapping timbre and lyrical content, in both
his more practiced tracks and the new stuff debuted last night, shamed
the poor quality of mainstream music. If that's what one guy and an IPod
can do, the finished hip hop we regularly hear should simply be better.
And despite the seriousness in many of his narratives, P.O.S. was hysterically
funny. During his third or fourth song, when his beat dropped out, he
pointed to a table of young hipsters in the front and gently asked them,
"What's your favorite Weezer song?" Off guard, no answer was
given, and P.O.S. blasted back into his rhyme. When his rap kit ran out
of beats, he held up his cell phone to a mic and rapped over the phone's
repeating high hat.
The comedy and invention continued when Dosh joined P.O.S. back on stage
to fill out the show's remaining time with freestyle, despite the many
disclaimers P.O.S. made at his lack of freestyling skill ("Do you
know that guy Eyedea? Cuz' I don't.") And if there were any doubt
that Dosh's music was more about audience participation than appreciation,
everyone up front bopped and rocked along to his improvisation.
Taylor Cerik is tcarik[at]gmail.com