Having released their eponymous debut album in 2013 and their follow up Run The Jewels 2 in 2014, El-P and Killer Mike aka American rap duo Run The Jewels have built up quite the cult following around the world and have attracted a huge number of fans from the UK in particular. With their unique take on rap music, the pair have become underground heroes and their sold out show at London venue The Forum was their chance to thank their loyal fans for all the support.
They brought with them a support act who certainly seemed to know how to perform to a sold out crowd, in the shape of UK alternative outfit Until The Ribbon Breaks. With their brand of electro meets rock meets hip hop tunes, UTRB created an intense atmosphere ahead of the headliners, seemingly right at home playing in front of a packed out venue and even trying out some new music. Lead singer Pete Lawrie-Winfield’s use of a number of instruments including a trumpet, electric guitar and numerous electronic devices added to the impact of the groups set and drew a huge sense of intrigue from many fans who hadn’t witnessed the group perform live before.
Continuing the night’s strong musical performances, when Run The Jewels did appear on stage the crowd erupted into a pit of excitement with arms and legs flying all over the place as people clambered to get as near to the two stars as they could. Entering the stage to a soundtrack of Queen’s classic hit ‘We Are The Champions’ was a beautiful nod to the British crowd and the set only went on to get better and better from there.
Playing through tracks from both of their albums, Run The Jewels controlled the stage throughout and put in a hugely dynamic, lively and energetic performance, even though Killer Mike had a broken shoulder. After opening with ‘Run The Jewels’, the title track on their self-titled album (are you lost yet?), the duo continued into a storming performance of ‘Oh My Darling Don’t Cry’ before the crowd reached fever pitch as they were encouraged by El-P to join in as he taught everyone the five rules of life (lie, cheat, steal, kill, win) during ‘Lie, Cheat, Steal’.
The pair were joined on stage for a couple of tracks by singer/songwriter & producer Boots, including crowd favourite ‘Early’ from the Run The Jewels 2 album before El-P hyped up the crowd with a speech thanking everyone for buying tickets and informing everyone in attendance that they were now part of the RTJ family for life, then exploding into ’36” Chain’ and mosh-pit favourite ‘Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)’.
Not showing any signs of pain or discomfort from his injury, Killer Mike bounded around the stage with his co-star and they continued to wow the crowd with slick performances of debut album banger ‘Sea Legs’ and the gritty, bass-heavy ‘Blockbuster Night Part 1’ before the chorus of ‘Love Again (Akinyele Back)’ had El-P admitting that he can’t ever get through a performace of the track without laughing during the hook, which repeats “Dick in her mouth all day”.
Thought provoking track ‘A Christmas Fucking Miracle’ provided a downbeat end to an entertainingly energetic set as chants of “R T J” echoed around the venue whilst the pair left the stage.The passion that Run The Jewels feel for their music was evident from the offset and it was as infectious as their exhiliratingly hard-hitting beats. But not only was their love for music on show, but the friendship that the pair have forged over the years was also unmistakable and added a charmingly personable layer to the duo’s performance that not many acts can manage.
With RTJ back over in the UK this Summer to play at Reading and Leeds Festival, anyone who didn’t have the opportunity to see the guys in action at this gig should definitely check them out as their live show is not one to be missed. With the buoyant attitude of a pair of teenagers combined with the dexterity of OG’s with the ability to control and command an audience, Run The Jewels are the underground kings that hip hop needs right now and they are rightly getting all the credit they deserve.