Hip-hop turnouts in Vegas are about as predictable as a spin of the roulette wheel. I've seen great artists like Blackalicious perform to 30 die-hards and Coolio sell out a room. And as it turns out, a late performance time on a school night didn't quelch the town’s excitement for LA underground duo People Under the Stairs, who packed Beauty Bar's back alley Thursday night.
I arrived as local favorites Rhyme N Rhythm were finishing up their opening set. People Under the Stairs' Thes One and Double K were manning their merch booth, signing LPs and posing for pictures . And then, just before midnight, PUTS took the stage, and the venue hit capacity.
Thes One and Double K were tight, frequently rapping in unison like one MC sharing two bodies. They put on a soul-infused hip-hop display, sampling everything from AC/DC to vintage jazz, peppered with old-school chants like “Throw your hands in the air."
Double K split duties at the mic, scratching tables and beatboxing, while Thes One took turns tapping the drum machine. Their set and their rhymes were both practiced and impromptu, touching on events from the night and running jokes while offering frequent love for Vegas ("Love this being out under the stars. You got something great here. We play a lot of cities and this is f*cking dope").
People Under the Stairs' 90-minute set featured singles off recently released ninth studio album 12 Step Program, along with fan favorites like “Acid Raindrops," keeping the energy high till the end. “You feeling this house party feel?” Thes One asked us an hour into the performance. Absolutely. I wish every hip-hop show could be like this.