rtj“This is a Run The Jewels concert”, barks Killer Mike as if the hard-hitting beats, agile vocal attacks from he and bandmate El-P and constant chants of ‘RTJ’ among the sea of fists and pistol hands – that have become the duo’s trademark – weren’t hints enough. Throughout the set the two are treated like heroes as their audience hangs on to their every word, carries out their every request and remains suitably electric from the opening tambourine and juggernaut synth of ‘Run The Jewels’ right the way through to the duo’s triumphant exit off stage an hour or so later.

The set is perfectly balanced between cuts from Run The Jewels and this year’s upgrade of a second edition with little surprise in between. The only sighting of either of the pair’s solo work comes in an ambushing extract of El-P’s ‘Tougher Colder Killer’ which although devoid of Despot’s contribution still refuses to falter the two’s unrelenting momentum. Sadly there are no special guests tonight – Zach de la Rocha wasn’t catapulted out for his icing of the cake on ‘Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)’ and the room was spared from Gangsta Boo’s outrageously raunchy verse in ‘Love Again (Akinyele Back)’ – but that’s fine as Mike and El – aka the best bromance in music – prove more than enough entertainment just by themselves.

As the two thirds of ‘Love Again’ that are played grind to a halt, El-P is clearly unable to contain himself from giggling at the crowd’s mass sing-along of a chorus that goes “she wanted my dick in her mouth all day”. He then tells his audience how his aunt surprisingly taunted other family members for finding the track too explicit. ‘She gets it’ says the producer setting up DJ Trackstar slyly to launch the vicious beat of ‘Get It’. From there the two burst into the festive, droning drop of ‘A Christmas Fucking Miracle’ which sees the crowd’s excitement peak.

Barely given a moment to bask in their glory, Mike and El are summoned back onstage mere seconds after leaving by an audience that clearly cannot get enough of the two. ‘Angel Duster’ brings a dramatic ending to proceedings and ends with the friends dedicating the show to the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner – two recent young casualties of Police brutality – before jumping down beside their loving audience to touch as many people as possible, as if their music hadn’t already done that itself. There doesn’t seem a thing in the world that can stop Jaime and Mike at the moment.

James Barlow

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