If you have never had the chance of enjoying a night at Sons Of Hermann Hall in Deep Ellum, I am happy to tell you what you are missing out on. The bar downstairs is nice and a great prequel for a good show upstairs. I was there to see poet/rocker Saul Williams in show. After a few drinks and a later start than advertised, the show began.
CX KidTronik, Saul’s opening act and right hand man from another band, opened the show with a mix of hard metal and thrashing joints from yesteryear, booming sounds like gunshots from the Hall’s more than sufficient sound stage (in comparison to the old sound system at The Lounge, it’s Verizon quality). As the CX KidTonik ended his set, the man of the hour made his way to the stage.
Dressed in shimmery tights, with a shoulder sticking out from a woman’s American Apparel T-shirt, my immediate reaction was to be left aghast. Darker than night, Saul now looked more like a Prince / Madonna hybrid than the rugged boot, cargo wearing dread I’d first seen him portray in the movie Slam some years past. Looking around the room, the mostly white crowd of about 200, a mix of young and old, were not at all taken aback by his dress. The rebellious anthem “List of Demands” blared as I wondered where these people discovered Saul. How many were poets and how many are students doing a field assignment. By the time he launched into his classic poem’s “sha clack clack” chorus, I had long forgotten about his ambiguous dress preference.
Throughout the night, he moved from the mic and back as he beat on hid handheld bass drum. His voice was just as the others have said, crackling and untrained, but fitting for the songs and energy in the room. Best $20 I spent so far this year.
I didn’t know what to expect from Saul Williams. My date asked me if she should wear a dress. I told her to dress it down, because it was like a poetry reading at a hip hop club. Whenever a hot girl passed us, she politely huffed that she looked like a boy because of my bad advice. Clearly I had no idea what to expect. I have never been more pleasantly surprised.
“You look fine”, I said.
“I look like a boy. You told me not to get pretty”, she replied.
“No you don’t. You look relaxed.”
“No. I look like a boy. It’s fine. Saul Williams probably only fucks big booty black girls anyway, so I don’t care.”
“So you don’t think he’s gay?”, I asked.
“No, but he is wearing a sexier outfit than me too,” she said.
I could’ve argued not, but that would have been a lie. Saul Williams. Go for the poetry. Stay for the 80’s Glam.