Saul Williams

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  • Blue Saint
  • Steve Duncan
Bam!Bam!Bam! @ 24 Kitchen Street 5/3/16

It’s finally here. It feels like an age since this show was announced. Ever since word got around that it was happening people have been talking about it as if it’s a once in a lifetime occurrence. A Halley’s comet of the Liverpool music cosmos.

In front of an already packed and eager audience in 24 Kitchen Street, spoken word poet STEVE DUNCAN steps up to the stage. His demeanour is humble and unassuming but, as he bursts through his first couple of poems, his voice and his message carry some formidable weight. His charisma is deeply sincere as he delivers heartfelt pieces relating to his family and the lasting impact they’ve had on his life. Steve Duncan is not a poet to be lumped in with the rest. He stands out for all the right reasons, delivering a wonderful start to the show.

Next up is rapper BLUE SAINT, and, unfortunately for him, this doesn’t seem to be his crowd. His particular brand of hip hop seems to lean toward a more commercialised style. Although he plays well, and doesn’t let his bravado falter for a second, it’s a tad awkward to stand amongst a crowd that just doesn’t quite know how to react to him.

It seems almost unbelievable that this is SAUL WILLIAMS’ first headlining Liverpool show, but he bursts on to the stage as if he’s making up for lost time. He brings a unique aura to the stage as he and his DJ rip through nearly every track from his new album Martyr Loser King, including Horn Of The Clock Bike, Roach Eggs and the monstrous Think Like They Book Say.

Interspersed between tracks are some utterly captivating poems, some of which hark back to the Dead Emcee Scrolls years. He performs Untimely Meditations and Co-Dead Language with an electrifying honesty and heart-wrenching clarity. Williams’ energy onstage is incredible; he’s constantly jumping and dancing and just giving himself to the live expression in every way.

He steps off stage and performs a few songs at the eye of the storm of people as they crowd around him. As he steps down he starts to perform the poem Coltan As Cotton. The silence is a vacuum in between his words. Williams is a prophet urging this crowd into action, and as the music starts for Burundi, everyone is dancing and clapping. He brings the crowd together in unison. This is a true celebration of community.

As the set draws to a close he also treats us to a few songs from his other albums which serve to energise the crowd even further. He leaves the stage sweating and exhausted. Never has anyone given so much to a single performance. The hardest task for a writer is to try and put into words the very things that transcend language. This show carried so much weight and meaning that there just aren’t enough words to truly give it the description that it deserves. Suffice to say that, it was that once in a lifetime occurrence we hoped it would be.

Christopher Carr

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