Tribal, Saul-ful, and Rock & Roll
Meeting with Saul Williams earlier for an interview, he had told me that one should expect to dance at his concert that he gave this past March 24, at La Tulipe. And dance is what the crowd did.
Starting with the table spins from DJ Kidtronic. “The more you drink the better we’ll sound”, he said. But I didn’t want to take his word for it. And my being sober didn’t impede on my likeness of the sound. Polyrhythm-80′s-Dirty South-90′s gangsta rap-hip-hop was on the repertoire, which I was totally digging.
Then steps Saul’s band mates, and himself to the mic where he starts an enumeration of people who inspired him from Gandhi to Morrison… the crowd, and BAM, the beat introduces “Patience” from his latest release “Volcanic Sunlight”. Followed by “Explain my heart” where he concludes by inviting the crowd, in a very deep deep voice, to “spread to dance and feel free”. And in plays “Diagram”. The crowd is definitely pleased with what they hear as the dance floor gradually shakes under our feet to the rhythm of the track.
It was a slow start, but that third track definitely picked up the crowd, and swayed them to dance steps.
“DNA”, ” Coded Language” were next. It was unfortunate that the sound at La Tulipe did not do justice both for the players and the listeners in the room, thus failed to make the concert a total enjoyment. Bass was way too loud.
He continued with “Surrender”, my favorite of the night, so far as to the sound, very tribal-jazz. Pure enjoyment!
In between the delivery of “Volcanic Sunlight” and “Grippo” where the presence of the horn was one to be reckoned with, did Wiliams grace us with his poetic skills with the recital of “His dilemma”.
…we speak of art
with flaming passion
then do work
void of compassion
and wonder why
reality is bleeding fiction
The distorted staccato rendition of “Black Stacey” got the crowd stomping hard. And then the short intro of the next song made the concertgoers go gaga of anticipation with what was to come… “New Day”, where the band definitely let loose.
Nearing the end of the opus, Saul Williams says he is not tired, though Montreal was his last city on his tour, he felt Rock & Roll. “And what do you do when you have a lot of energy, but not a lot of time?” he asks. He answers loud, “DANCE!”.
That was all the vocal preparation needed to get us going for one last time and he transitioned to his “List of Demands (Reparations)”. Wild!!
An encore materialized by the sharing of “Untimely Meditations” ended the night with words to ponder, sounds to replay in our mind on our way back to where we had to go, and a moment to remember.
*Due to a delay this review has been posted 2 weeks after the concert.