Bias aside, I think it’s fair to say that Run the Jewels is having a hell of a year. We’ve been on the road damn near nonstop since April, destroying major festivals throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, and, as a result, we are the best possible type of absolutely exhausted. The schedule is grueling, and we appreciate every show — we know how lucky we are to be making a living doing what we love — but there are a few special shows really redeem the grind and help us replenish our energy. This past Friday was one of those shows.
We knew months ago that we were going to do an event for or with Banksy – immediately the date began to glow on each of our calendars – but didn’t know a single thing about what the event would be, or where, until it a couple weeks ago, when we read on the Internets just like everybody else that he had created a “bemusement park” called Dismaland outside of Bristol in the UK.
It’s hard to fully describe but basically it’s a deconstructed, dystopian version of Disneyland, complete with the wit and social awareness we’ve grown to expect from the art world’s international man of mystery. The park is open to the public every day of the week, but on Friday’s attendees receive an added bonus: performances from the likes of Massive Attack, Peanut Butter Wolf and others.
Well, this week was our turn, and the park did not disappoint. Unfortunately, an insane travel day – we had performed in Bologna, Italy the night before – got us to the park later than we had hoped, but we still had an hour or so to explore and check out the many, many different installations.
There was a dilapidated Sleeping Beauty Castle, with a distorted Ariel the Little Mermaid sitting in front as (I assume) a reference of the famous Mermaid sculpture in Copenhagen, inside of which was a Cinderella parody of Princess Di’s tragic car crash–complete with fake papparazzi that somehow looked so real that I haven’t talked to a single person who didn’t think they were living breathing humans when they first walked into the room.
There was a baby, curled into the fetal position in a vending machine and tattooed/branded with corporate logos.
There were carnival games, including this one where anyone able to knock over an anvil with a ping pong balls wins an anvil.
This pic also features a perfect representation of the Dismaland employees, who were clearly instructed to be, well, dismal. None had attitudes that remotely approached friendly, and some were (hilariously) rude, including the security lady who, while extensively hassling my wife upon our entry, asked her “Why is your husband’s band so shitty?”
Fatboy Slim spun an opening set (hearing him spin his track “Praise You” was pretty sweet, that video is the best), and while we were initially worried that we would have an audience that leaned towards the “art show crowd” demographic (older and/or “cooler”, either way far less rowdy than our usual folks), as soon as I started setting up a large contingent of the crowd started chanting “RTJ” and our fears were allayed.
The show itself was phenomenal–we were all so hyped to be there and energized by all the dope art that we couldn’t help but give the best performance we could squeeze out of our sleepless, travel-weary bodies.
Man I'm so hyped to be announcing this…my #skratchfan collabo with @djqbert is now available for presale at www.therapfan.com. I doubt I have to explain how mindblowing is it to work with one of the greatest DJs of all time on this snapback. 100% cotton, AND we've got more in store. #rapfan #invisiblskratchpiklz #runthejewels
(Shameless plug: the show was extra exciting for me because it was the official debut of my new official collaboration with DJ Q-Bert: our SKRATCH FAN snapback. It features the Thud Rumble Beedle in place of the “A” in Skratch, and is on www.therapfan.com for pre-order for the first time today. I’m obviously humbled and beyond honored to be working with one of the greatest hip hop DJs of all time on this, and super hyped to finally have the hat available to the public after keeping it under wraps for months.)
All in all, it was fantastic and one of the most unique gigs any us of have ever done or probably ever will do. You can also hear us discuss the experience tomorrow night at 9PM Eastern on the eleventh episode of WRTJ on Beats1.
To keep up with our adventures, follow us on your favorite social media. Oh and don’t forget to tune into The Late Show With Steven Colbert next Wednesday, September 16 to see us do one of our rap songs with TV On the Radio.