Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Saul Williams at the Troubadour
The number of Nine Inch Nails shirts in the crowd would almost leave you to believe that they were scheduled to perform. In actuality though, It was a mesmerizing performance from the poet and performer known as Saul Williams. I have seen Saul a few times before when he opened for Nine Inch Nails during their "With Teeth" tour and was impressed by his astute lyricism and social commentary. Saul is one of the few performers who can actually make you believe that words can be more powerful then bombs. While most Nine Inch Nails fans were open minded, Saul unfortunately got jeered at a few shows. Saul is touring behind the Trent Reznor produced album "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!".
Dragons of Zynth
Dragons of Zynth started the evening off with their post modern alternative rock vibe that lands closely to their New York brethren TV On The Radio. It turns out I bumped into a clan of friends and was busy catching up with them so I didn't really focus that much on their set.
Saul Williams came out firing with the noisy racket provided by CX Kidtronix behind his AKAI MPC and his neon light blinking glasses. Saul is a compelling performer that draws you in with conviction and urgency of his lyrics and raps. Saul brought along a guitarist and keyboardist to accompany CX Kidtronix to help flush out his sound and it paid great dividends as the songs sounded full and noisy."Niggy Tardust" had some crowd participation with the crowd chanting "Nothing!" when Saul would rhetorically ask "When I say Niggy. You say Nothing." Trent Reznor's production on the track is evident with the wormhole bass line drilling into your head. "Banged and Blown Through" is another example of the partnership between Trent Reznor and Saul as it borrows some the dynamics of a Nine Inch Nails song but retains a personality that can only be attributed to Saul. "Black Stacey" was explained by Saul as a song about feeling comfortable in your own skin as Saul bounced across the stage actively engaging the audience. "List Of Demands(Reparations)" was performed with a lethal mixture of vile and hope as Saul was completely lost in his performance. "Tri(n)igger" had all the venom of Public Enemy as it sampled "Welcome To The Terrordome" as Saul showed he can sing as well as he can rap. Saul closed out the night with a poignant version of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" with extra emphasis on the lyrics "How long? How long must we sing this song?" as a pointed barb in reference to the continuing war. Saul Williams will be releasing "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!" as a physical album on the Fader Label with five bonus tracks that I will pick up when it gets released.