Los Angeles-based underground hip hop veterans People Under The Stairs (PUTS) did not disappoint when they rolled through Neumo’s on a rainy Sunday night. I showed up about fifteen minutes before they went. The opening DJ was nothing special, just played some stereotypical classic hip hop tracks by the Wu Tang Clan, NWA, Nas, & the like to remind the audience they were at a rap show. There was really no brotherly changeover between the groups as they exchanged set-ups at the turntable decks. Clearly PUTS weren’t touring with their protégées or anything. “Fun DMC”, as PUTS often refer to themselves, were the beginning, middle, & end of the party.
No presenter came up to announce the start, Thes One & Double K just asked the audience if they were ready to go and the ¾ full Neumo’s crowd jumped right in. With smooth funky bass lines, good time lyrics, and their general Cali vibe it is impossible not to be seduced by PUTS and their nostalgic old school style. At times I could’ve sworn I’d been thrown back in time to an 80’s hip hop dance party, and it was hard to find a person in the crowd not at least bobbing their head.
Outside of the music there were also a side act to the show. Midway through the first song a girl just got up and started dancing off to the left side of the stage. I figured she must be part of the show, but the band ignored her minus one air hump from Thes One. She was not deterred, though, and after a few numbers a friend came and joined her. PUTS kept the show moving it like the pros they are, but the drunk dancing ladies would not be ignored. They began to slowly, sloppily dance their way mid stage where Thes One had to whisper what we had all wanted to say for almost 15 minutes: a hopefully polite version of “Get off the stage!” Fifteen minutes later she apparently forgot what had just happened and attempted to regain her sidestage throne. Fortunately, the security was quick enough this time to rescue what was left of her dignity.
PUTS, though, had enough great tunes and stage presence to keep the audience entertained despite distractions. They showed off their Seattle street cred by dropping “Dick’s, Space Needle, Seatac, Pike Place” & other key references, but most importantly to the weed-friendly crowd, PUTS showed their support for I-502’s passing and weed’s legalization in Washington. They closed the night with their two biggest tracks, “San Franciscan Knights” (with its killer Animals’ sample) & the stoner anthem “Acid Raindrops.” After a couple minutes of chants they came on to “make something up”, and went into a funky extended jam that sounded like Phish meets A Tribe Called Quest. If you like hip hop at all, you have got to see People Under The Stairs next time they come through your town.
Peep some tracks below and see if they tickle your fancy.
“Throw Stones” Tuesdays 8-10 PM @ www.rainydawg.org