Photographs by Dakota Arsenault.
I purposely have held off on compiling my gigs of the year until I got the chance to see Run the Jewels. The super-duo of Atlanta’s Killer Mike and NYC’s El-P are responsible for one of this year’s best albums, RTJ2, which followed up one of last year’s best albums, their eponymous debut.
When Killer Mike arrived on stage and announced “You know we’re going to burn this motherfucker down”, you knew he meant business.
It’s been quite the week for the duo and left in most other hands last night wouldn’t have happened. Issues with their tour bus (culminating in a their trailer going on fire en route to Toronto) and the effect the Michael Brown grand jury finding’s on Mike, it was a miracle that the sold out show at the Danforth Music Hall happened at all.
But thankfully it did happen and what a cathartic and euphoric evening it was for both crowd and Run the Jewels.
Queen’s “We Are The Champions” as intro music was definitely a prelude of what was to follow for 70 minutes. They launched into “Run the Jewels” and never lost any momentum for the rest of the night.
For two “middle-aged” men with many music industry years under their collective belts, they delivered an intensely energetic set with the fury of two kids with nothing to lose, which was not only admirable but damn well impressive. And the crowd gave that energy right back lifting this gig to the stratosphere and turning the Music Hall into a sauna.
The two worked the stage while airing almost all of their two albums with barely a breather to collect themselves, other than the rundown of their week towards the beginning of their set. There was no highlight song of the night – everything was a highlight and it was what everyone in the room needed.
Massive bass, slamming beats and an undeniable chemistry between the two stars on stage made this an unforgettable night. While the albums reveal some sonic layers, last night was not a night for intricacies. And while the Brown case weighed heavy on the two (either a song or the set was dedicated to Brown), the boys displayed some much needed humour with a crowd surfer who stage dived despite El-P’s wishes not to be embroiled in a lawsuit if she got injured.
These guys deserve to be huge. It was probably a communal feeling amongst the crowd that if these guys continue with this fury live and in the studio, 1500 people will be bragging that they were part of this evening for years to come.