Upon joining the Rhyme & Reason writing team, there was a discussion between myself, and Vicky T — head honcho — about some of the gigs coming up in North England. The July 1st Saul Williams gig stood out because I had never seen him live, and Vicky said in so many words that it would be an unforgettable experience. Let me start by saying she was 100 percent correct. The show was unforgettable, but equally some love needs to be shown to the promoters Superfriendz for putting together a solid line-up. Many times you go to show and the opening acts appear simply happy to be there, well this show was different.
Let me apologize to the Northaze cats, I, accidentally, took the slow train back from Sheffield, and got to Leeds a bit later than expected. I’ve seen Northaze before, and would highly recommend seeing them at a show, great energy, and great chemistry. Quite simply, just show up with your peoples and expect to turn up a bit.
Arriving to the Belgrave the crowd wasn’t nearly as packed as I would have expected it to be, but it eventually filled up nicely. Sidenote, Hey, Leeds, If you don’t support your artist who will? I understand time constraints and all, but do better, rep your hood. Some of the promoters throw local acts on the bill, show up a bit earlier to see them, be an incentive for them to continue this tradition. I’m just saying, I’m from Philly, and if Beanie Sigel, Meek Mill, E-Ness, Freeway, Schoolly D, Cassidy, Mike Knox, Eve or any Philly artist was opening or performing I’d make sure I be there for their performance as well as the headliner since them being on that grand stage is an inspiration for everyone from the hood.
Speaking of repping your hood, Denmarc Creary. Denmarc, a Jamaica born Leeds transplant, had a track reppin the city he now calls home, Leeds. The track was full of inspiration lines about the unique character this city exudes. The entire set captured the room which was quite busy when Denmarc came on. However, before long, I found myself asking people around me, “what is his name again?” He was incredibly engrossed in the music, which one audience member described as being “lost in the music.” Denmarc Creary put on an incredible show, and I jokingly said, “I wonder how Saul Williams will follow this guy.” Although I was kidding, it was an acknowledgment of how impressive I found him. He possessed a confidence and ease on stage that helped him control the audience and deliver an impressive show. So, expect more coverage of this Leeds reppin singer and rapper. In the meantime, checkout some of his work below and believe me when I say, it is a dope marriage of production and songwriting. Below is the track “Work” that Creary performed at the show, you can easily sense how you could get lost in the production.
Let me start by saying, I am a Kanye West fan. I was a junior in high school when “College Dropout” dropped, and it was a perfect album during my formidable years. I have seen Kanye live many times, and I have to say, after seeing Saul Williams live at the Belgrave, Kanye’s live show has been influenced tremendously by Saul Williams. If there is any doubt, see the video below of Kanye performing “Black Skinhead” on Saturday Night Live. Also, notice the echo’d mic, the use of voice bending, and the screams.
So, I was tremendously surprised when I saw Saul’s performance, with the philosophical, and political messages and pictures in the background. The energy, and atmosphere was perfect, and necessary after the recent political and social turmoil present in the United Kingdom. The energy in the room stood out, most of the audience was consumed by the music with its powerful instrumentals, and echo’d vocals, which ran between many genres from punk to hip-hop, and back. Midway through the show, Saul brought that energy literally into the crowd and performs his set in the center of the masses, deliver power line after power line of social and political empowerment, and mental liberation. After the show, I asked him what exactly he meant with his new album’s title “Martyr Loser King,” his reply, “you’ll soon find out, we’ll reveal that soon.” He answered me in a way that made me think I missed something when listening to the album, which honestly should be an artist’s intention to get you to inhale the art more deeply. I’ll get back to you guys once I am done doing that. Overall, it was a memorable show that exceeded the giant expectations of a live Saul Williams show. He did quite a few cuts off the album, and mentally I’ll always be in that atmosphere of empowerment when I hear those tracks, so I would flat out recommend it. In the room powerlessness disappeared, you felt incredibly empowered to change all current circumstances that marginalize, poison, and implode our societies.
The promoters put together a wonderful card with Northaze, Denmarc Creary, and Saul Williams. Leeds, support your local legends, and here’s to me wishing that level of empowerment on anyone fighting a battle. So, get lost in your mind, and connect with a room like Denmarc Creary, and dominate a mic, stage, room, and transfer it and empower a broken group of people like Saul Wiliams… Fuck you, understand me? All Coltrane solos at once…