Kate Tempest (Apollo)
Not too much has changed in the few months since we last saw Kate Tempest — most notable is her swapping her second drummer for a back-up singer. Not a bad change, as the singer in question not only adds strength to the sung portions of Tempest’s songs, but also ups the energy on stage by dancing a way that shows more form than Tempest’s long, bobbing strides across the stage.
As for Tempest herself, when we saw her at Lille Vega, we had the sneaking suspicion that she was an artist suited to festivals. It’s nice to be right about these things. Her set is more tailored to the atmosphere, keeping the spoken word elements limited to the bridge of “The Truth” and set closer “Hold Your Own,” which was received with the same spirit as in a tiny club. And it was really nice to see a broad smile across her face during most of the set; she seemed to really be in her element, and the crowd could not be more enthusiastic.
But you have to wonder how closely people were listening to her words; the irony of the two men next to use stripping naked from the waist down during “Bad Place for a Good Time” didn’t go unnoticed.
Run the Jewels (Arena)
Run the Jewels made their live debut at Roskilde in 2012. When El-P generously proclaims, “Roskilde is the home of Run the Jewels,” it sets off a packed audience that didn’t need an excuse to be set off. They probably would have managed this without actually inciting the crowd, as the call and response of “everybody’s doing it” in the chorus of “Lie, Cheat, Steal” proved. It was also far more authentic than the constant demand that the audience chant “RTJ,” but Run the Jewels also occupy that rare space of popularity and cool that translates into un-self-conscious fun.
This joy for the sake of joy carries throughout Arena. While El-P runs in circles like a hyperactive dog, and Killer Mike dominates with his presence alone, the teaming crowd is flinging plastic cups of water — helpfully handed out by audience support staff who are just trying to prevent dance floor dehydration syndrome — into the air. In the midday heat it would have been refreshing, but it’s past 21:00 now. If things didn’t wrap up shortly after the one hour mark, we might have caught a cold.