Local hip-hop collective Person People is on its way over to Eugene as we speak to rock a show at that town’s venerable music venue, the WOW Hall, as an opening act for Wu Tang Clan legend Ghostface Killah. Check out drummer Jared Forqueran and the new PP van!
It’s good to see these guys (and gal) with the van, the out-of-town dates, and the seemingly new-found drive to build the PP brand beyond Central Oregon. A few weeks ago, the crew did a short tour through Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, and after the Ghostface gig, they’ll play in Portland on Saturday night, a special pre-Halloween show in Bend next Friday, and then two dates in Boise and Portland opening for jazz-hop icons Digable Planets.
This is a big deal for Person People. One of the best ways for a young band to carry its name and sound beyond its hometown is to score opening slots for bigger, better-known acts of the same ilk. A fan of a band like Digable Planets, for example, may take notice of Person People’s unconventional mix of rock and hip-hop, and may even drop by the merch table to pick up a copy of the band’s excellent 2009 album “heARTbeats.” That’s money in the pocket, but even more valuable is the potential for impressing some folks and the word-of-mouth marketing that follows.
It’s no coincidence that Person People’s sudden burst of activity and travel comes shortly after it signed on with Gabe Johnson’s locally based (but nationally reaching) booking agency In The Pocket Artists. I saw PP DJ A-Bomb at Silver Moon a while back and asked him where all this road-warrior energy was coming from. “Gabe’s doing his job,” was his reply. So when I saw Johnson at the Bend Roots Revival, I asked him why he signed the band. He said he saw a series of Person People concerts over the past year or so that convinced him the group had tightened up its act and was ready to take its show on the road and, specifically, into bigger cities.
He’s right. Since the band’s inception in 2002, Person People has been a bit of an enigma on the local music scene. For a long time, they seemed to possess the talent needed to break out beyond our region, but lacked a certain something — motivation, business acumen, money, or all of the above — to make it happen. But things have changed. The group has a very good (and good-looking) album it can offer now, and the addition of the live instruments not only took PP’s live show to another level, but sets the band apart as a unique entity and sound on the regional hip-hop scene.
The partnership with In The Pocket is another piece of the puzzle, and an important one. With the agency’s resources and contacts on board, Person People’s horizons are a lot broader these days. Let’s hope these trips to neighboring states and dates supporting big names are just the beginning.