Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Everything, all of the time: Saul Williams live in Brighton

27 June 2016, 11:15 | Written by Nathan Westley

Poet, actor, activist, rapper and musician are just some of the professions that can be attached to Saul Williams, but what becomes abundantly clear within minutes of being exposed to any of his art is that he's a man deeply passionate about the lot of it.

Within the walls of The Haunt in Brighton tonight (22 June) a performance is delivered that cannot have passed without having a positive effect on a single person present.

Opener “Down For Some Ignorance” with its spoken refrain and minimal musical backing, sees Williams emerge from a side door and onto the darkness of the dimly lit stage while above a screen flashes through a cyclical sequence of politically focused images.

That tonight's set focuses heavily on material from this year's MartyrLoserKing album is a bonus; it's a record ripe with the politics of now, and it automatically seems right that he should spend near half his time not on stage but in and among the people who had come to see him.

Between song speeches touched on the EU referendum, but rather telling us who we should vote for, they were instead geared towards making us think. While some socially conscious artists feel they need to spell it out, Williams is an epert in making us question 'why?'.

Whether it be the texturally rich “Horn Of The Clock Bite” with its rounded piano motif, or the At The Drive-In infused “Ashes” with its centered “Dancing on the corpses ashes” refrain, Williams lures our collective consciousness into giving it one hundred percent concentration. A large part of the audience are snapped out of their transfixed state by “Grippo”, where he actively encourages us to stop our stillness and instead vivaciously dance along to the song's pumping rhythm.

Before playing “Burundi”, one of the many highlights from that recent album, he informs us that the song could easily be titled after a range of other African and Asian countries, and serves as a further reminder that the passion and belief that stands strong at the core of his being is also contained in the very heart of his songs and performance here tonight. Not many artists can rival it.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next