The city came to Santa Fe last night in the form of Saul Williams at Santa Fe Sol.


New York's warrior-poet brought hard tribal beats, electronic metal and slam verse that had the audience alternately pumping fists and gyrating. Opening with "I Am That Nigger" and "Patience," Williams set the tone for a cultural offensive that both told off the establishment and showed off humanity's resilience, its unity in art.

His DJ, CX Kidtronic, who opened the night with a disjointed solo performance akin with sorting through material at home, finally showed his mettle as a beat-maker and sound engineer, bringing those urban and electronic (Atari) samples that emphasize Williams ability to sound both ancient and modern, both urban and tribal, both grounded and metaphysical. These contradictions are fully realized in the Trent Reznor collaboration,

The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Stardust,

from which Williams pulled a few tracks Monday night.

Williams told us “The greatest Americans have not been born yet,” from “Bloodletting,” on the Not in our Name album. He shouted, “The conspiracy is within.” He chanted, “Hey, I want to talk to you.” He’s a sexy and powerful, slam-poet rapper with a Rich James sway, and I’m pretty sure he ate Fishbone. “This is my first time in Santa Fe,” he tells the audience. “You don’t have to look at me the whole time. You can dance if you want to.”

SxSF continues tonight with Gardens&Villa at Santa Fe Sol. And there's much more to come.