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Run The Jewels at O2 Academy, Birmingham (Live Review)


I’ve been waiting to see Run the Jewels for years, ever since I first pressed play on RTJ 1 I’ve been smitten with them. El-P’s humorous raps and unmatched production skills mixed with Killer Mike’s political aggressiveness and wondrous flow is one of the most perfect matches in music. RTJ 2 then came out, it was more aggressive, more excessive and most of all, perfect. So I was actually quite worried for RTJ 3 because I knew that RTJ 2 couldn’t be topped. And whilst it’s not better it’s damn near on its level and that’s for certain. So when RTJ decided to roll in to Birmingham on the last leg of their tour, there wasn’t a chance in hell that I was ever going to miss it.


The support act was the one and only Danny Brown. One of the most unique and entertaining rappers I’ve ever heard. He’s also one of my favourites, a tick off the bucket list for free effectively, and to hear tracks from XXX, Old and Atrocity Exhibition live was one of the most incredible experiences. Danny was accompanied by a phenomenal light show including lasers and high beams. And he performed with such raw energy it was infectious, keeping the crowd jumping throughout the whole set and we hadn’t even seen the main act yet!


El-P and Killer Mike rocked up on stage, immediately blistering into Talk To Me, spitting bar after bar as giant inflatable hands accentuating the pistol and fist hung above their heads. The thing that made this gig so unique was how genuinely funny El-P and Killer Mike were, in between songs they’d often make gags and laugh at themselves. Before they performed Stay Gold El-P made the crowd say “Hey dad, Uncle dad, stay dad” a little homage to all the fathers in the crowd. El-P told the males in the crowd to “keep your f*cking hands to yourself”. Something that shouldn’t need to be said at a gig but unfortunately it does.


They both deserve massive credit for being, openly, out of shape middle aged men who ran around the stage all night, bouncing about to each song as if it was the first time they had heard it. The enthusiasm and energy was so infectious I could not keep a smile off of my face the whole way through, if you’re a fan of rap then you’re probably already a fan of Run The Jewels, but even if not I highly recommend going along to one of their live shows, one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to!


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