Live Review: People Under the Stairs at Slim's

Posted by on Oct 8, 2009 | Comments (7)

There are many transgressions I will abide at live hip-hop shows. I accept that I will be yelled at for not making enough noise. I know that I will be schooled on some arcane lyric I am supposed to repeat. I can hang with crowd-rocking clichés like left side vs. right side, I’m cool with rappers getting too excited and gruffly shouting their lyrics, and most of all, I have started to swallow my indignation at Serato.

But let’s say you’re People Under the Stairs. You’ve made seven full-lengths. You’ve got fresh beats for days. You’re one of the best throwback hip-hop acts in the country. The last thing you need to do is come out on stage and, before performing any song, try to get the crowd hyped by talking about your new sponsorship from Vans:

“This is a world premiere! Check out dubbayu dubbayu dubbayu dot VANS dot com, forward-slash, remix”—blah blah blah—”an’ if you win, Vans is gonna hook you up! Now San Francisco, are you with that?!!”

I was embarrassed for the Bay when the crowd actually cheered. No wonder the Dodgers are in the playoffs and the Giants are toast. L.A. plays us like a violin. Seriously—we’re such dumbshits that we cheer for a promotional Vans remix contest website URL?

My friend Matt quickly recalled Soul Strut hosting a PUTS remix contest, a couple years back. The prizes included having the winning remix pressed on vinyl, free records for the runner-up, and, for third place, a $10 Wendy’s Gift Card they probably found laying around (“for baked potato or baconator, yo choice”). That same idea co-opted by Vans, who make perfectly fine shoes but have an insidious penchant for swooping in and plastering their name on quality youth culture, is not a reason to throw your hands in the air.

So the starting line was set about 20 yards back, with a lot of catch-up to do. This ordinarily shouldn’t be hard to do for Double K and Thes One, given the enormous back catalog of PUTS jams. Obvious classics like “Hang Loose,” “San Francisco Nights,” “Tuxedo Rap,” “Up Your Spine” and “Acid Raindrops” were all played, but I dunno, something was off. A faded Thes One—one of my favorite producers, who dominates both The Price is Right and Will.i.am—kept messing around with the mic’s reverb by huffing his way through too many acapellas (“Time to Rock Our Shit” faded out, but never faded back in) and the lack of tight pacing showed.

People Under the Stairs play party jams and people love party jams, so there were no complaints from the dozens of girls pulled up on stage for “Hang Loose” (see Fig. 1A, above). Nonetheless, we walked back to the car in a weird daze—”It’s like their crowd changed from beatdiggers to douchebags,” we overheard someone say—and hoped it was just an off night. Carried Away, their new record that comes out next week, is as great as ever. How could it be bad, right? So anyway. Here’s to future days.

Tags: , , ,

 Email  Print Share


  1. kenny bloggins
    October 26, 2009

    some people are cool. some people indeed are douchebags. all people are entitled to their opinions. however, in this case we have a classic hater. tell me, how has this vans remix contest changed the P’s music? has it changed the P’s style, the way they make or perform their music? hell no. this show at slims oct 7 was fun, interactive, and overall mindblowing as usual. the P rocked shocked blocked and amazed and there’s nothin you haters can do about it. dont be embarrassed for the Bay. leave the Bay. (and the Dodgers can watch the World Series from the comfort of their own homes like they usually do, but thats neither here nor there.) Seriously dude, if you really like the P, wouldnt you want them to reach a larger fan base, get to the ears of the masses so the masses realize lil wayne isnt it? how great would it be if you couldnt go one day without hearing at least one People Under the Stairs song on the radio? Im really confused as to how any true P fan can not agree here. although, all haters are entitled to their opinion. dont fuck around and have a B.M. Gabe, its just rap music.

  2. Gabe Meline
    October 26, 2009

    You’re right that it hasn’t changed their style, nor the way they make their music. But it has changed the way they perform their music because they shill for Vans before they do so. I know Thes One is stoked on the Vans thing, and that’s great for him, but starting off the show by telling everyone to visit the Vans website is a tacky move that only serves to turn off the ears of the masses. It doesn’t deserve applause.

    I’ve seen PUTS three times since 2000 and this was the weakest of the three. Thes One was drunk and the pacing was off. Everyone has their bad nights.

  3. kenny bloggins
    October 27, 2009

    first of all, they didnt open up the show by saying go buy vans shoes on their website; about halfway through it they announced they were collaborating with Vans to do another remix contest, and the reference to the Vans website was only to reference the remix contest. second of all, ive seen the P 7 or 8 times since 2006, and thes and double are always drunk, and their shows are always better than the last. how many groups let their fans participate via things like remix contests? call me tacky, but i think its pretty damn cool

  4. Thes One
    October 27, 2009

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy the show. I had a good time, and i know double k did as well.
    I went back and reviewed the video of the night, and shit looked pumpin’ to me.

    I made that anouncement that particular night because we were making the grand anouncement about the remix contest and filming it, which we thought would be dope because alot of the fans make beats and we were excited to offer them a remix contest that would give the winner more exposure than a little props on some random forum. I grew up skating and rocking vans and the idea of them getting behind a remix that someone wins with is beyond dope to me, and honestly, it never crossed my mind that someone would even dare feel different – so i gave props to Vans that night for doing so. They are making custom skate decks for the winner as well. I was stoked that they agreed to get behind our meager rap band. Good for them, good for the fans.

    Also, you should remind your friend that though the last remix contest was on Soulstrut, it was my idea and i went out and BOUGHT the ipod i gave to the winner (Martin) who well deserved it. I also bought $300 of ad space out of my own pocket on the site to double up promotion for said contest. All in all, this remix contest is going to be more widespread and the prizes will be WAY better (and not out of my pocket) but best believe it was still my idea and we are still judging who wins.

    Drunk? That’s your assumption that insinuates i couldn’t make it through the show, or i fell over (inadvertently) or some shit. Rapping and jumping and playing a drum machine and dancing on stage giving 110% for an hour and a half and i was drunk? Maybe you missed the 2 bar stage dive where i popped back up right on the one – i got the tape. I take my performances seriously and always give my all – If you didn’t like my styling on stage that’s cool but, well, I was far from drunk.

    Just wanted to clarify some stuff because i’m killing time in a Brazilian airport. So, Selma Hayek and all that and you got my email now – send me your paypal address and i’ll refund your ticket to the show.

  5. a poor person
    November 11, 2009

    serato for life

  6. DJ Yelir: 415 representative
    December 17, 2009

    People Under The Stairs
    Live at Slim’s

    On October 7th, 2009, I witnessed People Under the Stairs, a hip-hop duo hailing from Los Angeles perform at Slim’s SF and rock a party in ways I never thought possible. I’ve been Djing since about 12 years old, and have heard stories of (and witnessed) parties and events at which the DJ(’s) and MC(’s) set the tone for an amazing night to be had by all. On this night P.U.T.S. brought back the old school party-rockin’ styles of DJ/MCing full force and pumped it right into the audiences bloodstream in promotion of their newest album “Carried Away”. Thes One and Double K (both very talent DJs, producers, and MCs) always present an old school feel with their music, but with Thes One’s newfound energetic delivery, and by focusing on simpler/hard-hitting drum patterns, up-beat samples and loops, and straight forward/up to date lyrics, it was like watching a modern day Eric B and Rakim tear it up.
    They started off the show by making the world-premier announcement that Van’s was sponsoring a P.U.T.S. remix contest in which any fan can submit their remix in hopes of winning a customized skateboard and some recognition/ publicity from OM records. They had with them (from what I saw) 2 turntables, 1 MPC, and at one point, Thes One actually came on stage playing a beat on some sort of drum machine that he wore around his neck via shoulder strap. Double K flawlessly mixed beats, triggered samples/mixes with his MPC, and, by using timeless, hype man sayings like “…And it don’t stop!!” or “…Who rocks the party?!”, they both interacted with the crowd, really showed off their true talent as Djs, and let the audience know that if you want to be a good DJ, you have to know how to rock the mic and rock it well.
    They mostly performed songs off of their new album, which definitely pumped up the crowd, but still played the classic grooves everyone wanted to hear such as “Acid Raindrops”, “San Francisco Knights”, and “The Hang Loose” (during which, they invited all the girls to dance on stage with them which, when done successfully as they did, is a sign of some high quality party rockin‘). At times they even covered verses from old school tracks like “The Humpty Dance” to see if the audience knew the lyrics (which the majority unfortunately did not). The blend of Double K’s lyrics/delivery, DJ skills, and charisma, and Thes One’s incredible beat-making abilities, lyrics, and overall energy creates a hip-hop cocktail that inebriates the crowd, and causes everybody to get down, sing along, loose their voices, and thoroughly enjoy themselves.
    This was definitely one of my favorite concerts of all time (and I’ve been to quite a few; from Bruce Springsteen to GWAR to Wu Tang). Thes One and Double K are not only my biggest influence in terms of quality hip-hop production, but they also seem like really down to earth folks. At the end of the show Thes One gladly signed autographs, answer some kids questions about using an MPC, and accepted a mix CD that I made of my beats saying “A tape?? Damn… you know someone’s down when they hand you a tape”.

    Right on P.U.T.S. and Thes One, that meant a lot to me… I hope u bumped that tape at least once, but if not, it’s cool… just make sure you don’t just give it to some square haha.

  7. DJ Yelir: 415 representative
    December 17, 2009

    haha… theres a typo there… i said “mix CD” but i really meant “tape”….. FUCK! well, its not like im turning it in to an english class…. just electronic music class haha. I probably got some other minor facts twisted but it was a while ago so its hard to remember. it sucks that i looked on this page hoping to read a dope review of the performance and some wack buster square ass don’t-know decided to be a hater. im just sayin is all.
    -yelir out


Leave a Reply

All comments are sent for moderation before appearing here.