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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Review: Run the Jewels’ blew the roof off the Rialto

    Tom Price
    Killer Mike and El-P, the 2 members of Run The Jewels, rock the Rialto Theatre on Sept. 30. The photo was taken during their live performance of the song “A Christmas F***ing Miracle”

    Run The Jewels lost its Tucson virginity to The Rialto Theatre Tuesday night and boy, did the band members have a memorable “first time” at the Rialto.

    To start off the night, the compact crowd ranged from high schoolers sporting snapbacks, to “buzzed” middle-aged hipsters, to a curious father figure sporting outdated cargo shorts—all proof of Run The Jewels’ diverse cult following. The Rialto sold about one-third of allotted tickets for the show according to its box office; however, the aromatic booze-filled horde grew progressively larger by the time Run The Jewels arrived on stage.

    From the beginning of the show, the wallflower-like crowd wasn’t easy to satisfy. The first act, Cuz Lightyear, unfortunately had to endure blank stares and frowns of disapproval from the audience rather than the expected bobbing heads and raised arms most live acts incite. Lightyear received confused stares after his set abruptly began; he caught many off guard with his gold grillz and all-black ensemble which included a mask adorned with tiny silver spikes protruding over its surface area. Toward the end of his set, his dark, grimy raps eventually won the crowd’s approval, as only one more opening act separated them from experiencing Run The Jewels live.

    Up next was interesting musician, BOOTS. The artist started his set by gyrating his hips back and forth while the sound of his nerve-racking bass and various odd sounds slapped audience members in the face. His set successfully lightened up the dead crowd Lightyear left with his terrifyingly odd tracks. Aside from BOOTS’ eccentric beats, the man did have an amazing voice. He looked like the artsy bad boy every girl secretly pined for in high school. Throughout his performance, BOOTS made sure to show off his calisthenics-meets-dance moves with every slice of bass he sent through listeners’ bodies. He sometimes resembled an eccentric child about to receive a piece of candy.

    After BOOTS’ act, the previously scattered crowd unified as one, chanting “RTJ, RTJ.” After a brief intermission, low and behold, the wild duo that is Run The Jewels hit the stage. The entire Rialto went dark and the crowd plunged into a total fan-girl frenzy. The two men that everyone waited for rolled onto the stage accompanied by Queen’s “We Are The Champions” and the entire place went ballistic.

    The experimental Run-D.M.C.-esque cohort, consisting of the rapper and producer duo of Killer Mike and El-P, came out dressed in bland black attire, but their dull fashion choices did not reflect their boisterous showmanship. From the beginning of their set to the end, the crowd was jumping up and down, side to side.

    Their booming sound touched every single nerve in listeners’ bodies. Even considering the Rialto’s smaller size, the two treated it as though it was a music festival slot. They owned a comically infectious stage presence, interacted with the audience and produced a rambunctious sound that made listeners want to break “that vase” in front of their mothers.

    The set list included tracks from their latest release, “Run the Jewels 2,” and the fun-filled duo displayed their lovable chemistry with high fives, humorous remarks and constant embraces of one another. These two were brothers in a past life.

    As if their head-bobbing music wasn’t enough, a laser light show accompanied their performance antics, making each song unforgettable. Run The Jewels managed to please their fans and put on one hell of a show. El-P and Killer Mike concluded the gig with an eargasm of an encore that left Tucson wanting more. The city will just have to wait until next time. And by next time, everyone is going to want a piece of Run the Jewels.

    Follow Mark Flores on Twitter.

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