People Under The Stairs | Live Review

People Under The Stairs @ The Fleece, Bristol. 11.05.15.


New interpretations of old tracks get everyone jumping and a myriad of voices join in for the much loved choruses.

They say you should never meet your idols. The look on Thes One’s face as I awkwardly bumbled my way through a complicated tri-partite handshake of my own creation, is something I will never forget. The manic, ear-to-ear grin I had on show as I giddily skipped over to the merch stand is something I can only pray he forgot instantly.

I’d been eagerly awaiting the P’s return to Bristol since I missed out on their last excursion back in 2012. It was a week before my birthday and I was harangued into working a completely dead shift and i wasn’t going to let it happen again. In the words of Thes himself “I’m a B Boy for life, so fuck a suit and a tie”.

As we arrive we walk past a rather casual Double K, taking pictures of flyers daubed on the Fleece’s outside wall. I realise this is going to be a much more intimate affair than the Academy gig, which finally subdues three long years of rage.

I double back, cop a quick handshake and lay down some props. Smooth as silk. After grabbing a drink, I spy one of my favourite hip-hop producers selling t-shirts in the corner. I make an idiot of myself and panic buy a £20 baseball cap. Not so smooth.

We settle at a high table near the back of the room, like any other reveller pushing thirty would and get chatting to some of folks around us. There seems to be a theme of inspiration as everyone recounts the first time they discovered People Under The Stairs.

With the somewhat suspect support act over, Chris and Mike take to the stage:

“Who here has heard of us?”. Ninety percent of the crowd howl their allegiance.

“Who here hasn’t?… be honest.”. Ten percent meekly whimper.

“Well, we’ll have to rock it extra hard for you then!”

The show kicks off with a high energy rendition of ‘Roundabouts’, the opening track from latest album ’12 Step Program’. Short cuts of classic tracks come thick and fast. With over nine full releases worth of material to work with, the frenetic nature of their set is a necessity. The only real respite comes in the form of a monologue about their love of beer, culminating in Thes dousing himself in a bottle of lager.

I have fond memories of walking to college, listening to my minidiscs. My favourite was one I made at my friend Dan’s. It contained a track called ‘Tales Of Kidd Drunkadelic’, which featured on the 2002 PUTS album, ‘OST’. I listened to it pretty much every day for three years. I like to imagine those three years were preparing me for the moment i would hear it live. This was that moment and I forced the poor bloke in front of me to share it with me.

New interpretations of ‘Acid Raindrops’ and ‘SF Knights’ get everyone jumping and a myriad of voices join in for the much loved choruses. Every face in the house is beaming and the atmosphere is one of jubilation. Strangers feel the need to shake hands with those around them and everyone converses with their neighbour about just how impressive the gig was.

We all go our separate ways, but everyone feels that much closer. On the journey home, my friend and I compare the autographs on our t-shirts and realise my awkward bumbling got me the better of the two. Always meet your idols.

Check out ‘Acid Raindrops’ right here:

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