Run The Jewels / Victoria Warehouse, Manchester | 9th of November

Run The Jewels / Victoria Warehouse, Manchester | 9th of November

Conscious rap duo Run The Jewels absolutely blew up Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse on the 9th of November.   

What better venue could there be to host ‘hipster-hop’ superstars Danny Brown and Run The Jewels than the Victoria Warehouse? Located inside a converted warehouse, as the name would suggest, on Thursday night the entertainment complex was packed out for the first date of the UK tour of the Atlanta/New York duo of El-P and Killer Mike that makes up Run The Jewels.

They’ve been blowing up since 2013 with the release of their first self-titled album, but 2017 has been the making of RTJ in the UK. With the release of Run The Jewels 3, performances at Glastonbury – where they opened for Jeremy Corbyn – and a very vocal anti-Trump sentiment, they’ve made a name for themselves as hip-hop’s political force across the globe.

With Detroit-based rapper Danny Brown delivering an opening act to remember, where he pranced across the stage like an overly animated gremlin while spitting the rapid-fire verses of tracks like Ain’t It Funny without taking a breath, Run The Jewels had a lot to live up to. However, emerging to a rousing rendition of Queen’s We Are The Champions, it was clear that the two guys on stage had full control over the sold out venue. The stage presence of Killer Mike alone is enough to draw the attention of even the most casual hip-hop, so with the combined force of two of rap’s most powerful lyricists, the crowd surged and bounced like madmen through a set covering the duo’s entire discography.

Dropping banger after banger to a crowd who knew every word of every track, staples such as Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck) and Legend Has It peppered a set-list that featured guest spots from Danny Brown on Hey Kids (Bumaye) and a surprise appearance from rapper/singer/producer BOOTS who dropped by to sing his hook on 2100.

With Run The Jewels, the music makes up only some of the show. The quick quips, on-stage banter and audience interaction from the pair makes an RTJ concert feel like a comedy show at times, always in the best way possible (see Mike catching a girl’s bra from the audience, signing both cups and throwing it back to her). However, comedy was sometimes substituted for more emotional moments. Killer Mike forgoing his namesake, shedding a tear and encouraging the audience to call somebody they love, before ripping into an emotionally charged rendition of Thursday In The Danger Room was a particular highlight of the night.

Providing a show packed full of fun, emotion and incredible beats, riding a set list perfectly designed to appeal to hardcore and more casual fans alike, Run The Jewels thoroughly exploded into the Victoria Warehouse on Thursday night. If this first night is a sign of things to come on the rest of RTJ’s 2017 UK tour, they are certainly not to be missed.

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