Mutualistic Symbiosis: Or, why Lorde and Run The Jewels are on tour together

At first glance, it might seem a bit strange that Lorde’s current Melodrama World Tour has Run The Jewels as one of the supporting acts.

The sounds of these two groups don’t really mesh up and it was evident with how each fan base reacted at the Denver concert this past Monday night. However, it’s a pairing that makes a lot of sense for one reason in particular: mutualistic symbiosis.


It’s a term that basically means a close interactive relationship between two biologically different organisms, and that describes these two perfectly. Why one might ask? It’s even simpler than Lorde liking what Run The Jewels is doing musically.

It’s because RTJ has performance and industry experience Lorde doesn’t have, while Lorde has a considerably larger fan base that might just check out the rambunctious duo opening for her current tour.

With just a quick look at Spotify, Lorde has nearly 12 million (11.89 million if you want to be technical about it) monthly listeners, compared to just under 2.2 million (2.19 million) for Run The Jewels. Instagram reflects an even larger gap, where the New Zealander has six million followers, compared to just 114,000 followers for RTJ.

This isn’t to rub the disparities in the fans of RTJ (have you READ how many times we’ve written about these guys?!) or to put Lorde fans on a pedestal that vindicates her popularity.

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It’s to say that while Lorde might have the numbers, she doesn’t yet have the experience.

In Denver, she sang quite well and made audience members fall in love with her charming New Zealander accent (which you don’t encounter much on this side of the world). However, the dance choreography was not that impressive and the stage also fell a bit flat. A floating box went up and down, occasionally possessing dancers inside of it as well as in front of it. It was a bit confusing.

One thing RTJ can teach Lorde? Shout-out your band, at least once.

It might be a very hip-hop thing to do, shouting out the deejay or the band, but it makes you more relatable. For an artist that banks on relatability and working through her own experiences, that extra hint of acknowledging others’ hard work would go a long way in pushing along her popularity even more.

Pop tours are of course meant to cater to the lowest common denominator, and that isn’t meant as a slight to pop artists. It’s music that is created for the largest amount of people to listen to. Run The Jewels, Mastodon, and Skrillex are all talented in their own rights, but their music isn’t for everyone.

Lorde could break out even more if she did more to distinguish herself apart from the rest of the pop world. Doing something different enough that will be distinguishing and yet not scare off fans should be the goal, and after this tour maybe it will happen.

It might be melodramatic, but it would help Lorde take that next step.

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