BY TER STAFF
Run The Jewels are in the middle of their huge tour, dubbed the Run The Jewels: Run The World Tour, and tonight El-P and Killer Mike ran Madison, WI. Selling out the historic Orpheum Theatre, located on the city’s historic State Street, which connects the University of Wisconsin campus to the Wisconsin State Capitol Building, one of the most political and consequence duos in music performed for one of the Midwest’s most political cities.
But tonight wasn’t about politics or dwelling on the election or primary results, it was about great rap music and making sure that no fan left without having a memorable night. Kicking things off, Gangsta Boo, Cuz & Nick Hook warmed up the Wisconsin crowd, each bringing something different to the tour. With a former member of the Three 6 Mafia, a talented electronic artist to get the crowd moving and one of Little Rock’s most exciting emerging rappers, the night instantly started on a high note.
Next up was the wildely entertaining alternative hip-hop producer, The Gaslamp Killer, who delivered a great half-hour set for the sold-out Orpheum Theatre. The Brainfeeder signed artist, a label founded by producer Flying Lotus, has performed on big stages before, including Coachella and New Orlean’s Voodoo Festival, but his supporting performances for packed crowds on Run The Jewel’s 2017 tour will continue to be great exposure for DJ/producer. Despite being the supporting artist for a rap concert, Gaslamp Killer’s impressive mixes extended well beyond rap and hip-hop, also mixing rock, trap, electronic and more into his 30-minutes.
After a brief intermission, it was time for Run The Jewels to hit the stage in Madison. Entering to Queen’s legendary hit ‘We Are The Champions’, Killer Mike and El-P sang along to the record’s chorus, greeted the sold-out college crowd, and quickly transitioned into a bass-heavy live performance of their RTJ3 track, ‘Talk To Me’…and the crowd erupted. Run The Jewels then continued with more performances from Run The Jewels 3, including their songs ‘Legend Has It’ and ‘Call Ticketron’.
Throughout the night Killer Mike and El-P kept the crowd engaged with performances from all of the duo’s collaborative and self-titled projects, but certainly with focus on their most recent tracks, especially their most recent LP. As the crowd chanted “R-T-J” and Killer Mike & El-P bounced from stage left to stage right while the tour production’s light show strobed to the beat, the energy was vibrating throughout the venue for the entire night.
Highlights of the night included RTJ’s performance of their RTJ2 track, ‘Love Again’, where Gangsta Boo returned to the stage and joined Killer Mike & El-P to assist the performance, as well as RTJ’s performance of DJ Shadow’s track ‘Nobody Speak’, but for the most part the energy was at a high level throughout the whole set. One memorable moment from the night had nothing to do with the music either, as Killer Mike stopped the show after he noticed that a fan was being removed from the concert. After some investigation, noticing that the fan was being tossed for weed, Killer Mike instructed the venue that Run The Jewels would not continue to perform if their fans were being thrown out for having weed. Security had to bite their tongue for the rest of the night and the show went on. And after Run The Jewels ended their set with their self-titled track, fans benefited from some free live music as the rap duo returned for encore performances of ‘Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)’ and ‘Down’.
While many are still late to the party when it comes to Run The Jewels, hip-hop’s biggest fans don’t just like RTJ, they love RTJ, and for good reason. During the entire performance fans were rapping along, word-for-word, putting their hands in the air and throwing up the famed gun and fist Run The Jewels logo. And even in the middle of a long and likely draining tour, Killer Mike and El-P matched the crowd’s energy from start to finish, playing off the other with their impressive tag-team style of rap, leaving very little time for the other to catch their breath. Two things are for sure, (1) all fans left happy tonight and (2) Run The Jewels gave their all for Madison’s sold-out crowd.
Check out our photos from tonight’s performance below, and be sure to catch one of the remaining dates on the Run The Jewels: Run The World Tour.
Photos by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Run The Jewels