Rock/Soul/Prog, Spring 2008

Saul Williams is… well, I don’t really know.

April 11th, 2008 by Reverend · No Comments

So, a friend of mine had to go see Saul Williams for her Contemporary Drama (I think) class at the 930 club. I hadn’t seen much of Saul Williams beforehand– I’ve seen him on Russel Simmon’s Def Poetry and I’ve heard Black Stacey and List of Demands (youtube for each below), but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I knew that he was a poet advocating the eradication of racism, but that’s so vague that it doesn’t really have a meaning.

Being the type of person that I am, I had to wiki Saul before I went to the show and found out a few interesting tidbits. He got a BA in Philosophy from Morehouse College and an MFA from NYU for Acting. Well, then. I suppose he’s making the most of learning how to entertain. He’s also been published in New York Times and Esquire. Hm. Intelligent. He was in K-Pax. Wait. What?

So basically, this educated, Kevin-Spacey-knowing, published rapper/poet/musician is really hard to pin down. Nonetheless, I thought I kind of knew what to expect at 930. I couldn’t be more wrong.

Saul came out decked out in feathers and a blue coat. His music was intense, had a thrash metal-esque and a beat that was going at breakneck speed. Halfway through the first song, he sat down disdainfully because the audience was not dancing. Near the end, he was dancing with them in the crowd. Somewhere in the middle his daughter (I guess? She was like 12) was leading the audience to sing along and, of course, move to the music with her.
He opened with “Coded Language” the poem I saw him recite on Def Poetry forever ago. He ended with “List of Demands” the only song I actually knew the words to. Needless to say, I was overjoyed on both ends. My favorite thing about the performance was when he would pause between songs to recite some of his poetry. His voice is beautiful and his words are deliberate and powerful. It was one of the few things that I was consciously aware of how happy I was to be alive.

And I wasn’t even supposed to go. Taylor was supposed to, but he had rehearsal. Life’s funny that way.

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Original post by maganc

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