Blog Run The Jewels @ First Ave

Run The Jewels @ First Ave

Posted Oct. 27, 2015, 9:54 a.m. by Nathan G. O'Brien

Run The Jewels

First Avenue

Minneapolis, MN

October 23, 2015

“I’ll apologize now. If you are wearing glasses, you might want to put those away. If you hate being slammed into by people, you might want to make your way to the back. If you’re rocking brand new sneakers, I’m sorry. I’ve been there. I understand. But you’ve been warned. I’m sorry in advance about your new shoes.”

The speaker is El-P. He and his partner in rhyme Killer Mike are known as Run The Jewels. Maybe you’ve heard of them. No doubt a result of their relentless tour schedule—this being their fifth appearance in the Twin Cities alone in just three years—Run The Jewels have mastered the art of house-rocking. We’re midway through their headlining set at a sold-out First Avenue, where they’ll give this seemingly honest and understanding forewarning just a moment to sink in before Zach de la Rocha’s sampled machinegun-fast vocals crack from the speakers, signifying the arrival of “Close Your Eyes (and Count to Fuck)." “Run them jewels fast, run them jewels fast, run them, run them, run them…fuck the slow-mo...”

And then it happens.

BOOM!

Trackstar The DJ drops the beat and the audience explodes into a frenzy of neck-snapping, pogoing, fake gun-in-the-air-firing, fist-pumping lunacy…again. This is how it’s been since they took the stage. You wouldn’t think it could any crazier, any sweatier, or any OMG-ier. But it does.

Louder than fuck and with enough sub-rattling oompf to run a nuclear reactor, RTJ perform on this night—the second to last of their current tour—as if they are auditioning for their first record deal. Keeping the eager crowd enthusiastic for an hour plus in stifling heat, the duo themselves are intense and furious and restless and command the proceedings instinctively; reaffirming that they are thee force to be reckoned with in the hip-hip pantheon.

The openers Fashawn and Boots fill their roles adequately. The former, clearly understanding the importance of high spots, brings locals Prof and Brother Ali on for one song each. Meanwhile the latter’s The Weekend meets Nine Inch Nails gimmickry (about all the was missing was a bunch of mud and keyboards on boomerang stands) seems a tad out of place, but provides ample time to hit the bathrooms and grab last-minute drinks. And oh boy, the drinks are being had tonight.

RTJ enter the stage as they always do: with Queen’s “We Are the Champions” playing over the PA. They seize control immediately, doing “Run The Jewels”, and then “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”, and later “Blockbuster Night, Part 1” and “Banana Clipper.” They bark out lyrics like Southern gospel preachers while Trackstar The DJ works the decks, providing a hard-thumping backbone and flexing his turntable dexterity.

Following “Love Again (Akinyele Back)”, the track with the famed hook “She wants this dick in her mouth all day”, El-P and Killer Mike spend an inordinate amount of time trying to drive home the point that it’s not the misogynistic sex rap it’s been mistaken for. “That’s the stupidest lyric for a love song we ever wrote” says El-P. Killer Mike adds, “But don’t get it twisted; it’s a love song. And if Gangsta Boo was here she’d tell you the same thing.”

Okay guys, whatever you say.

The set, which by my estimation contains just about every RTJ song there is—including “Lie, Cheat, Steal”, “Pew, Pew, Pew”, and “All Due Respect”—closes out with a rousing rendition of “A Christmas Fucking Miracle.” And when all is said and done, the crowd is left swaying in their own sweaty puddles, kind of drunk, and in complete awe.

“Dude, that was so awesome. My brand new Jordan’s are fucked. But I can’t wait to see these guys again.”

The speaker is my friend; a young Nebraskan transplant who has just witnessed his first rap show.

Follow Nathan on Twitter at @OMG_NOB

Leave a comment
Share this content

Other recent blogs

Artisans in the Gardens Exhibition

Posted by T
Oct. 14, 2017, 9:18 a.m.

Artisans in the Gardens Exhibition Lion’s Gate at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney October 13, 2017 Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens is a not-for-profit membership based organisation supporting ... read more

Napalm Death @ Factory Theatre

Posted by T
Oct. 13, 2017, 8:18 a.m.

Napalm Death Factory Theatre Sydney, Australia October 11, 2017 Extreme times demand extreme responses. After successful runs in the USA and Europe, the intemperate Napalm Death and BRUJERIA conglomerate were heading south to ... read more

Greek Film Festival - Leichhardt

Posted by T
Oct. 12, 2017, 9:04 p.m.

Greek Film Festival Palace Cinemas Leichhardt October 10-22, 2017 The Delphi Bank 24th Greek Film Festival set out to celebrate Greek-Australian filmmakers with festival guests Sotiris Dounoukos and Mary Zournazi and ... read more

Queens of the Stone Age Bring the Heat to Colorado

Posted by Kevin Fitzpatrick
Oct. 11, 2017, 2:21 p.m.

Queens of the Stone Age and Royal Blood Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, Colorado 10.10.2017   It wasn't looking good. In typical Colorado fashion, following a summer-like 76° Sunday, mother nature ... read more

Pinot Palooza - A Touring Pinot Noir Festival

Posted by T
Oct. 9, 2017, 5:30 p.m.

Pinot Palooza - A Touring Pinot Noir Festival Sydney Carriageworks October 8, 2017   Looking for a near perfectly orchestrated and curated, traveling and rocking Pinot Noir experience without pretentious ... read more

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.