RUN THE JEWELS at Yonge-Dundas Square, Sunday, June 22. Rating: NNN
Run The Jewels emerged on Sunday night to the triumphant strains of We Are The Champions - fitting for the rap duo who, I'm told, nailed it the previous night at Adelaide Hall.
And at their 9 pm Yonge-Dundas Square show - on NXNE's usual hip-hop-heavy final night - emcees Killer Mike and El-P proved to be quite a dynamic duo indeed, encouraging a mass clap-along right off the bat, striking some pretty mean moves for a couple of guys who are not remotely built like dancers, and getting creative with audience participation: "I bet if you put one wavy hand in the air, we can make it feel like an ocean, Toronto!"
The pair ran through tracks from their great self-titled debut LP, and some tunes early in the 40-minute set were victim to muddy bass (in general, getting the sound right in Yonge-Dundas square is tricky). But the retro-video-game production of 36" Chain landed just right, as did the prefacing spiel about wearing our pretend 36" chains ("Toronto, if you got a chain around your neck, make some nooooo-ooiiiiise!").
And for the record, the moniker Killer Mike is a misnomer. The Atlanta rapper - who played the square solo two years ago - exuded southern charm. "You motherfuckers are an absolutely wonderful city," he said. I've never been more chuffed to be called a motherfucker.