Show Review: Santigold @ Club Nokia, June 1st

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Santigold

Club Nokia, Los Angeles

Friday June 1, 2012

Santigold, or Santi White, is a Tom Tom favorite. We’ve interviewed her, featured her on the cover of our magazine, and even played scrabble with her. Well, that last part isn’t true. But we did get the chance to see the producer/singer/songwriter in action on June 1st at her sold-out show at Club Nokia in Los Angeles for what was an incredibly fun show. Since we’ve already told you a lot about her writing process, her new album, and her favorite food, let’s talk about the show.

The night was a homecoming of sorts: Santigold at one point said that LA is her “home away from home” and pointed out several people in the crowd that have influenced and helped her during her career. During many of her songs she spotted people she knew in the front of the crowd and waved. Really, the most exciting part of the show, to me, was how much fun she was having. Clearly playing off the high energy and excitement of the crowd, Santigold really knew how to work the room. She made sure to involve everyone, even the people seated in the balcony, and danced all around the stage to the enjoyment of her many cheering fans. She brought plenty of charisma and charm, and her voice sounded incredible to boot. It was no wonder the floor literally shook to the beat as everyone danced along to each song.

Possibly the high point of the set occurred when Santigold asked the audience if they were ready for a dance party (to screams of affirmation, of course). She then proceeded to hand select 30-some people to climb up onto the stage with her. An awesome, massive dance party ensued. Even the burly security guards at the front of the stage couldn’t help but smile and nod their heads to the beat. There was something contagious about Santigold’s singing and stage presence, and of course her beats are infectious.

Santigold’s energy and vibrance was actually a stark contrast to her back-up dancers (also singing background vocals) who, though extremely talented and quite entertaining, maintained expressionless faces and robot-like emotions for most of the show. Their sexy dancing (did I see some Salt-N-Pepa moves thrown in there??) drew cheers from the crowd, especially when they were featured, but their faces remained stony until the very end. This included a really cool surprise during the song “God From The Machine” when the two women grabbed marching snare drums and began playing the riff featured in the song. For most of the set, though, Santigold did her own thing, dancing around the stage but not really to a choreographed routine. There were a few songs that she danced along to the steps of the two dancers. On some of the songs she joined in with their choreographed, emotionless facades, but quickly jumped back to life when the song was over, smiling and laughing.

Another unique, even strange, part of the performance was the costumes. Santigold had three costume changes, each time coming on stage with a brightly colored, shiny, and/or frilly outfit. The back-up dancers/singers similarly had bright costumes to complement Santi’s, also changing their outfits throughout the night. The three-piece band that handled guitar, bass, keyboards, and drum duties wore strange outfits as well, adorned with odd hats with earflaps and UPS-style shorts. They also brought out props like umbrellas, and even for one song featured a massive, white, dancing horse costume worn by her band members. The night seemed to be a “make-believe” world brought to life in vivid images, a la the concept for her new album “Master of My Make-Believe.” And she was undeniably the master.

When Santigold came out for her encore she thanked all of her fans for making the night so fun, saying that she loves LA so much she might just move out here. She quickly came back, though, shouting “Psych!” and started right in on a driving rendition of Brooklyn “(Go Hard),” her 2008 duet with Jay-Z. And while Brooklyn may in fact go hard, LA went pretty damn hard that night, too.

By Sofia Pasternack

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