Saul Williams, Wyatt Cenac, David Cross
Saul Williams/Wyatt Cenac/David CrossAuditorium Shores, Nov. 3
David Cross wasn't one of the biggest headliners at Fun Fun Fun Fest, but because he's a comedian, he was out and done by 6pm. After him, the Yellow stage reverted to musicians and, no disrespect to Peelander-Z or Nomeansno (or most acts on other stages), but they weren't pulling in the crowd that he was. If you weren't already stifling inside the tent when poet Saul Williams took the stage almost two hours earlier, you spent Cross' set outside, staring at canvas or hoping to catch a muffled gag through the speakers subsumed beneath human bodies. Williams made it worth the wait: Part Sufi, part slam, he spat consciousness-raising, finger-jabbing diatribes with hidden beats. The furious young firebrand/firestarter has become tempered and measured, but no less forthright. "Writing out of anger can be fun sometimes," he chilled, "just don't do it all the time." Surprisingly, the more mellow Wyatt Cenac seemed to have inherited some of his ire. Hair grown out for the The Daily Show off-season, he threw light, exasperated jabs rather than satirical haymakers. Cenac let his nerd flag fly, with Thor and Static Shock references cut with gentle Romney ribs, but it was the nebbish superstar Cross who began tearing up convention. Resplendent in his finest Arrested Development Tobias Fünke 'stache, he launched straight into Superstorm Sandy jokes. Too soon? Considering the adopted New Yorker went fearlessly into 9/11 with 2002's Shut Up, You Fucking Baby!, it's no shocker he had the stones to discuss racist Porta-Potties and inappropriate headline responses even before the mud has settled. Cross remained unafraid of the audience member wince, even if he couldn't see half his audience.