Run The Jewels at Mezzanine: A Thugs and Biffles Performance

11/17/2014

Run The Jewels performed at Mezzanine Friday with a lineup that hailed exclusively from their hometown of New York City. The openers were Despot, a solo act signed to El-P’s label Definitive Jux, and RatKing some scrappy looking teens from Manhattan that synthesize hardcore music with hip hop. El-P made a brief appearance before the RTJ set when Despot literally warmed the audience up demanding the crowd do a group set of aerobics, led by him.

RTJ entered the stage to Queen’s “We Are the Champions” which was fitting for the energy that they brought to the performance. They welcomed the crowd like old friends, beaming enormous crest-white smiles. They have an amazing stage dynamic; they come across like the people you always hope show up at your party so you can have crazy stories to tell about it. At one point they even wrestled on stage, El-P ended up on Killer Mike’s back.

Their performance was tight, despite the two proclaiming that they got blasted before the show. We recently wrote about their new album Run The Jewels 2 and it was great to see the new material live. By the time they performed “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” it was hard to tell who’s sweat I was soaked in, or how many feet I had stomped on. The crowd was wiley and happy; perhaps feeding off of the joy and respect that the duo brought to the stage.

Most artists separate their private life from their stage life, but these guys seemed to invite the audience to know exactly where they stood off stage. Both men casually brought up their significant others. That was pretty refreshing and solidified their good-dude demeanors. They also bickered about the pros and cons of smoking, Killer Mike dissing cigs, and El-P apologetically crowd sourcing one. They didn’t keep the crowd waiting for the encore. They ended the night with “Angel Duster.” El-P exited the stage. Killer Mike held up a bottle of Belvedere and poetically gave a little toast to the no ones.