Last Night: The Puma Social Club Celebrates The Drake Riot By Refusing To Allow People to Dance–Until Rusty Lazer Went On, Anyway


Even bleeding heart DIY promoters will admit that there’s so much more you can do when there’s money to spend. Frills come second to the show, of course, but none of us can deny the call of an open bar and free food, or the lure of a somewhat secret, swanky, sound-equipped space in the city. Unfortunately, with the extras comes a vague feeling of dirtiness (admit it), as logos cover the room like an all-over print and the smarmy folk that represent said logos circle the room. Scion and Red Bull take the lead when it comes to searing their corporate brand into the minds of the young and impressionable of NYC’s downtown party-goers. Now, with the new addition of Puma’s World Cup themed pop-up shop in the Seaport and its round-corner hangout, Puma Social Club, it looks like they’ve got competition.

Last night’s event went down around the way and shortly after those Drake concert riots you’ve been hearing about. Sponsored by Jelly NYC and Mad Decent, the four-hour soiree titled “Chicken and Beer” (to advertise the free goods) featured Dirty Finger, NoLA bounce DJ Rusty Lazer, and young Philadelphia club destroyer DJ Sega. When we arrived around 10pm, the line was about 40 people deep and at a complete standstill. The usual party bullshit, really, as the thirty minute wait only ended to reveal that the space wasn’t nearly at capacity and the free food and beer had definitely run out. Typical. The two-tiered venue is more of a party-house than a dancing space and resembles something close to a decked-out college fraternity’s living room. We’d been there for only ten minutes when the guy next to me started grumbling about the excess of foosball tables and lack of dancing–“Why do people do this shit? Book great DJs and then make us stand here watching them.”

Yes, the foosball tables were planted firmly in the middle of the main floor. A neon sign that read “swapping partners is encouraged” (get it?) glowed above the informal tournament. A wall of TVs played the Celtics/Lakers game and some undistinguishable movie. The walls were covered in blackboard paint and the scrawls of patrons tagging the wall mixed in with the obligatory Puma endorsements. The upstairs balcony held a heated ping-pong match, arcade styled video games, and more TVs (this time with couches). All the while, Dirty Finger played a mix of hip-hop that made me nostalgic for high school (shout out to Big Tymers). Those antsy to dance huddled by the booth as the rest, well, socialized.

The whole thing was rather bland considering the lineup, though things did pick up when Rusty Lazer got on the decks with a set of fast-paced, booty-shaking bounce set. A handful of girls threw their inhibition to the wind and got appropriately rude–heads down, ass up. After about fifteen minutes of this display, we called it a night. If standing around was the goal, we had accomplished that. Hopefully the folk at Puma turn up the volume and send the foosball tables to the side for the next round. The space is booked with dance acts every weekend for the rest of the summer, Dance Right, Zakee Kuduro, Ninjasonik, Famous Friends, and My Cousin Roy included. A solid lineup, for sure. All we ask is that you let us dance.