Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Who Has Saul Williams Tickets?

We do, that's who!

In case you were unaware, Saul Williams is taking the "Tar Spangled Banner Tour" (subtle!) on the road this spring. And on April 18th, Ro, Iris and I will take it all in at Martyr's, a Chicago venue I've never heard of before. But it sounds tiny, doesn't it? Like the kind of place where they'd have some stampede related to some fire code violation, and then they can say "Maise martyred herself at Martyrs for Saul Williams."

Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to this show. When I asked Mr. Maise if he wanted to go, he snarked, "No, thanks, I've already seen Nine Inch Nails." Yes, Trent Reznor has certainly left his mark on The Rise and Inevitable Liberation of Niggy Tardust, but if you really listen, it is easy to see that Saul has remained true to his poetry and hip-hop roots. Niggy Tardust remains an exciting and underappreciated album several months after its release, and I'll be interested to see what Saul brings to his live show.

If you'll bear with me as I return to the Saul/Trent comparison and contrast, I will point out that like Trent, Saul can be inspiring, but also baffling. He can be witty, but also boneheadedly obvious.

Take, for example, his video for the cover of U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday".

Here, we learn that one should be a little compassionate to the homeless and perhaps walk a mile in their shoes. Unless there's some deeper meaning that I'm missing? Seriously, is there? I mean, if there's not, don't you kind of wish that there were some sort of more complex backstory? Maybe Saul Williams in The Fisher King? I mean, who is this Homeless Guy Protagonist? A man with mental illness? A tortured, starving artist? A mistreated war veteran? What???

And is that an Amy Winehouse cameo at 3:53? Just kidding.

Actually, speaking of Amy Winehouse, she was on the Grammys (in case you weren't already aware). And she was actually kind of...well, I wouldn't say awesome, but she was at least conscious and NOT slurring her words, which is more than one can say for her performances since August. It's a good sign, really, from someone who loves her, and I hope that she truly is getting back on track. She seemed to be enjoying herself, even if she seemed a little awkward. However, I hope she didn't wreck her voice at the same time that she tried to wreck her body. I mean, not to be rude, but I've done better renditions of these songs in my car on the way to work. And really, that's not me trying to brag.

But I wish her nothing but the best and a speedy recovery, and I hope she takes all this shit and makes an even more amazing album out of it. Keep up the good work, Amy!

Oh, and Kanye was at the Grammys too! And although I'm not a huge fan of his, if his upcoming stage productions look like this, I'm totally up for seeing him live. OMG, he looks like Elton John in these light-up sunglasses! And the Daft Punk! And the random fashion references in his lyrics! LOVE it.

And of course, the big WTF of the night was Herbie Hancock winning Album of the Year, but...does anyone actually care about the Grammys? (Other than Kanye, who ALWAYS wants to win.) All of Trent Reznor's bitching about award ceremonies always comes off as sour grapes in a way, but in this case he's totally right. Irrelevant industry bigwigs handing out trophies. Meh.

I mean, hell, I didn't even watch the Grammys, so if there are any other highlights we should be aware of, feel free to mention them!


Danny Angel said...

I agree with you on the Grammys. Slayer won the metal one but Slayer has been releasing the same record for 23 years. Christ Illusion is not a bad record but even hardcore Slayer fans would call it fair at best.

Machinehead should have won. The Blackening is far and away the best metal album released last year and a career defining record for a veteran band. No one even came close. The songs and themes had depth and the music was brutal while still having long, complex arrangements.

The Grammys suck.

Danny Angel said...

So Robb Flynn of Machinehead said this:

"Five minutes after the 'Best Metal Performance' nomination was given to SLAYER, I got a text from Kerry King (who didn't attend) that said, 'I'll take the Grammy... but I have no problem telling you that you guys should have won!'

JR said...

I used to love watching the Grammys and the AMAs when I was a kid...ever since my sophomore year of high school, they just haven't seemed relevant to anything. Even for mainstream music and musicians, it seems kinda pointless--just an excuse to hit the gifting suites and wear something nice. Everything in the whole goddamned world has become so commodified.

It's not like I don't like buying things, but come on.

What was I talking about?

Anyway, Saul is coming to my neck of the woods, to a small little club. While the man does absolutely nothing for me, I'm almost curious to go to the show to people watch.

Iris said...

Aww...that's sweet. Honor among metalheads.

And in another "awww" moment did you see that Kanye shaved "MAMA" on the back of his head? The Grammy people tried to cut him off in his speech but he was having none of that. I don't blame them for playing the "wrap it up" music on him because he was rambling right before he brought up his Mom.

Watching Amy Winehouse perform was almost painful. Girlfriend looked like she'd had a stroke the way she kept singing out of one side of her mouth.

And after watching the SBS video again I have another question. Why is the Amy Winehouse-looking girl wearing a wedding dress at 4:13? Is she trying to pull off a Marla Singer look? She's got a ways to go before she outdoes the Helena Bonham Carter crazy style.

Iris said...

Ooh JR you should go see Saul! If you go then I think we'll have most of our recent commenting base seeing the him. I don't know that we'll be able to talk Mr. Angel in going unless Saul has some death metal band opening the show which I don't think is likely. But I suppose stranger acts have played together.

Iris said...

Oh and one other thing, JR. You've now got me caught up in watching that lie detector show on Fox (which even though I'm hooked, I still think sucks). You said you'd be on it in about two weeks which should be this week, I think, but unless you really are a large Hispanic guy, in which case my mental image of you was WAY off , I think you were fibbing about your appearance.

JR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JR said...

I'm not going to be on that show.

I was lying.

(Or was I?)

maise said...

Well, if you're not appearing on that show, then I vote your statement as most random lie ever.

JR said...

Well, I did make myself chuckle as I wrote it, so it was worthwhile.

I actually have a whole "random lie" persona on Classmates under which I post creative essays when I am stressed. There is even a great username associated with it, but I can't tell you or I'd have to kill you.

It's based on a song from the 80s.

Iris said...

Hmm...I wonder what it could be. Gloria? Jessie's girl? Mickey? Billie Jean? Little Jeannie?

Iris said...

For more randomness...I had an egg sandwich with a slice of swiss cheese for lunch today and it was delicious.

JR said...

I should have mentioned that the essays are also hilarious.

And as for 80s song inspired name, think anatomy and animals.

emerald527 said...

I'm planning to go to the show in Ann Arbor, MI (coincidentally, I also saw him do a poetry reading there). Even though I know I'm going to run into one of my exes there, I'm still going.

Even my mom thought the Grammys sucked.

Anonymous said...

Commodified and pimped out drug addicts. Gotta love the music industry - if you're not an addict when you enter, they'll make sure you end up an addict, broke and a public cliche (that is, if you are still alive). All the while screaming, "but it's ART [corporate]". Funny how Americans always worship shiny things.

maise said...

Trent, is that you?