On Tuesday, March 14th, the all-new website celebrating beer culture October had some serious manpower swinging the battering ram to blow their launch party's doors off the hinges.
The website hosted its highly-anticipated introduction inside North Carolina’s famous Fillmore Charlotte concert venue. One of the most influential music acts to rock the mic, Run The Jewels, was booked to lead the welcome wagon full throttle. Besides their reputation of killer shows, RTJ shares a common interest with October regarding the greatest beverage in the world.
The duo consisting of rap vets Killer Mike and El-P initially dabbled in the beer industry in 2013 during the Pitchfork Music Festival when they teamed up with Goose Island to promote a Belgian wheat beer. However, Jewels’ second collaboration took their involvement to an entirely different level; teaming with the Brooklyn, NY-based Interboro Spirits & Ales, everything from Run The Jewels’ signature gold-plated demonic pair of hands adorning the cans to their music is incorporated in an American IPA called “Stay Gold.”
Embracing the Northeast-style, the beer is named after a track featured on Jewels’ latest project, RTJ3. The partnership was virtually inevitable; Interboro’s co-founder and brewmaster is Jesse Ferguson, who formerly helped manage El-P’s former label, Def Jux. The beer also made its North Carolina debut during the evening thanks to Asheville, NC’s Burial Beer Co. brewing the recipe.
An hour before the show’s 8 p.m. starting time, even Old Man Winter’s unforgiving chill couldn’t deter beer and RTJ loyalists from forming a line in front of the Queen City’s legendary Fillmore. The mission was simple: Score a cup of the Gold and claim invaluable real estate at the front of the stage.
Others did some pre-gaming at the neighboring hot spot renowned for its outdoor volleyball courts, inventive bar fare, and bustling beer garden – VBGB. That's a strong recommendation for any beer lover in Charlotte.
The city's own burgeoning emcee, Well$, wasted no time justifying why he was slated to lead off RTJ’s show: he's been rhyming since he was nine years old. Still in his late teens, Well$’ energetic stage presence, multi-dimensional talents on the mic, and connection with his hometown had the packed house mouthing lyrics and chanting catchy hooks during the entire set. Flaming lighters in the air and near-deafening cheers effectively set the stage for the main act.
A short intermission provided just enough time to give bartenders a workout by constantly pulling the customized Stay Gold taps made simply of naked wood with “Run The Jewels” adorning their sides.
The light generated from the October signage positioned on the bars’ back walls helped showcase the IPA’s hazy, pale yellow when handed to eager imbibers. Their noses were greeted with bursts of peach, pineapple, and melon thanks to Mosaic and Citra hops. The taste was equally juicy, but well-balanced with the necessary grapefruit bitterness to make this six-percent sipper refreshing and nothing less than phenomenal.
We captured the moment Ferguson and Burial co-founder Doug Reiser had their first sips together; they both were evidently very happy with the results by toasting and exchanging dap for a job well done. As expected, the kegs were tapped by the time RTJ hit the stage.
And then it was time for Run The Jewels. ATL’s lyrical assassin Killer Mike immediately took control, setting off their set with “Talk To Me,” while the DJ and partner El-P helped choreograph the sea of pumping fists. El-P’s spitfire delivery quickly followed, and effortlessly maintained the crowd's energy level. The hits followed, including “Legend Has It,” “Blockbuster Night, Part 1,” “Hey Kids,” “Panther,” and rightly, “Stay Gold," among others.
Between cuts, Run The Jewels often demonstrated their sense of humor, including a moment when they played with their audience’s emotions by stating this was their last show due to El-P’s passion to get into a more relaxed style of poetry – spoken word. After a sigh of relief, finger snaps from the crowd aptly rewarded the joke. Immediately, El-P's thunderous beats rocked the house speakers once again.
The duo’s anthem “Run The Jewels” served as the climax, but their devoted fans pleaded for more, so their patronage was rewarded with "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck),” and “Down” to conclude the unforgettable launch of October