Over three records of ever increasing scale, Run The Jewels have returned to play shows in Dublin on a regular basis. Christmas Eve 2016 saw RTJ3 unleashed into the world – the gift no one was expecting – and now Killer Mike and El-P return to Dublin to yet another sold-out room, and another rabid crowd. The Olympia Theatre is replete with a suitably ludicrous outsize pistol/fist hand symbol prop combo but otherwise this is a simplistic stage set. There is a wild air to proceedings as the duo make their presence known to the air of ‘We Are The Champions’ which instantly descends into a wild bout of karaoke, before roaring into an opening trio of ‘Talk To Me’, ‘Legend Has It’ (replete with RTJ chant purportedly recorded in Dublin) and ‘Call Ticketron’ that is almost overwhelming in its ferocity.
El-P had indicated in advance of the commencement of this European run of dates that they were to reach these shores with a hefty sound system in tow, and this also does not disappoint. ‘Blockbuster Night Part 1’, for one, shakes the old theatre to its very core and only adds to the big event feel of the night. A small criticism stemming from this is the difficulty absorbing the strength and power of the lyrics at play – one can see, feel and hear the intensity of the backing track and only admire the vigour of delivery, but regrettably struggle to discern what’s being said beyond recollection of the recorded output.
That said, at the core of the appeal of Run The Jewels is the easy rapport and joy that is apparent every time they take the stage. It’s a set drawing from highlights across all three records, though drawing most heavily from this year’s claustrophobic, charged third record. The capacity crowd roar the majority of the verses with such vigour that any shortcomings in the vocal PA are rendered void anyway. Highlights after a blistering opening are focused on tracks that offer a change of pace, ‘Stay Gold’ and encore closer ‘Down’ (preceded by a powerful speech from Killer Mike on the power of a community such as the one in the Olympia) cut through the weight of the surrounding numbers to lighten the otherwise almost claustrophobic tone.
This has been an economical but unrelenting whistle-stop tour of the catalogue of a band that have never sounded anything less than vital. Run The Jewels deliver an invigorating 75 minutes, leaving the adoring crowd wanting more, with the tantalising reminder of their imminent return for Electric Picnic in September not to be missed.