Saul Williams

Despite the pioneering contributions of Bad Brains, Death, Fishbone, Suicidal Tendencies, and countless other bands featuring African-American musicians to punk rock and its many offshoots, the punk scene long seemed a bastion of whiteness; the black kids who did come out to shows and got involved in the lifestyle were viewed as curiosities or outsiders (what else is new?). That perception began to change several years ago with the excellent 2003 documentary Afro-Punk, which examined racial identity within punk-rock. Beginning in 2005, New York began hosting an annual Afro-Punk Festival to spotlight and celebrate bands and artists associated with the scene. Now, the fest is hitting the road for its first national tour. Joining the potent headliner – spoken word artist, rocker, and MC Saul Williams – are Led Zep acolytes Earl Greyhound, anti-folk hero Kimya Dawson, gloriously roaring art-punks American Fangs, and CX KiDTRONiK and Tchaka Diallo, who’ll kick out a dynamic, Bambaataa/Bad Brains-inspired blend of electro, hip-hop, and punk. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

Mon., Nov. 16, 8 p.m., 2009

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