We Went There: Run the Jewels at Myth
We do not live in subtle times, and RTJ knows it. The tell us clearly, too.
Run the Jewels feels like the perfect articulation of what all right-thinking people are feeling right now – they fluctuate between hopeful and empowering and crushing and heavy, all while pounding the center of your chest with tumbling beats. RTJ is explicitly political and was again on Valentine’s Day at Myth, turning their seventy five minute set into something that was part tent-revival and part political rally.
El-P and Killer Mike came out on stage to Queen’s “We Are the Champions” before banging into “Talk to Me,” and that was the most down-tempo moment of the evening. The looping, falling-over-itself beat of “Call Ticketron” folded into the thump of “Blockbuster Night.” Every song was a banger and cathartic.
Myth still sounds terrible to my ears. El-P’s tenor-ish vocals were mostly discernble, but Killer Mike’s rapid fire basso profundo got muddled with DJ Trackstar’s live tracks.
“Lie, Cheat, Steal” hit like a hammer – the crowd got into singing along, and when Killer Mike reached his verse, his line “who really run this?” seemed a direct assault on the Trump administration.
Everything RTJ has done and does now has a different tone, different weight (Well, maybe not Meow the Jewels. That’s still hilarious.), and the duo is owning their space. They raise the voices we need to hear.
Before the encore-closing “Down,” El-P exhorted the crowd, “you think you’re alone? You’re not down forever!” In these unsubtle times, maybe that’s the attitude we all need to take.
— Atom, @AtomRobinson