Her brand of art is a perfect embodiment of electric ego and amphetamine sounds. Her sound is a colorful blend of hip hop, reggae, punk, and new wave. However, the mash up of all of these styles, give the Philadelphia native a style unmatched originality. Her music could easily justify as the millennial soundtrack of our everyday, mostly documented lives. Now, don’t be fooled to think that she doesn’t have time tested talent, because Santigold has been in the music game for quite a while. She started her journey as an A&R rep for Epic Records, which she left to pursue a career as a music producer. She also fronted the punk band, Stiffed, as the lead singer. She has even co-written songs for GZA…all that and an impressive catalog of solo work solo artist make Santigold her own big boss.
I’ve seen Santigold a few times before at a few music festivals, where she seems to frequent line ups. It’s obvious why they always flock to book her, as she has always put on a solid, any time of day show. She dishes out songs you can dance to, chill to, sing along to, rap along to, and most importantly, smoke a blunt to. The crowd has always been thick and ready to bust it open.
Tuesday’s crowd turned out properly. We were all donned in our most Snapchat-able outfits, ready to buy ‘Gold. Two inflatable chairs flanked the stage, with her band’s set-up directly behind. At 9:30 sharp, her drummer and keyboardist took the stage, followed by her two ferociously, cool backup dancers. They took their place in their plastic, puffed thrones, feasting on super sized bags of Cheetos, looking unimpressed with anything and everything. The screen at the back of the stage displayed an image of the shelves at any given neighborhood’s local bodega (or corner store, for you simple folk). The theme gave visual life to the title of her newest album, “99 Cents.” Finally, the Goddess of Gold hit the stage and immediately went into her perfectly crafted set of old favorites and recent singles. The two dancers kept in perfect time between every song and costume change, never breaking their stoic expression. The stage set up changed throughout the show, keeping us all engaged and wondering where we were going next. We took a walk on a red carpet, rich in Miss Santi propaganda, we saw an infomercial on 3D printed, selfie wares, and then there were the bubbles. During her personal, Generation Y anthem, “Disparate Youth,” bubble machines joyfully shot out a blizzard those magnificent, soapy little orbs. It doesn’t matter how old you are, bubbles are never not awesome. End of story.
The best part of the night was the amount of crowd participation she made time for in her performance. After the bubble blessing, she went into a favorite of mine and probably everyone else’s, “Creator.” The crowd gets hype and she starts asking who wants to come up and dance. Calling out the eager fans to get on stage, there was soon a mob enthusiastically dancing around her. I would’ve been right there with them had I not just left my spot in the front corner of the stage for a different perspective on the upper balcony. I still danced like I was up there…She later called up a fan to help demonstrate the proper way to dance with a sign, and then gave her Tweedle-Dope dancing twins a break by bringing up two girls from the audience to replace them during her encore. It’s always nice to see artists making the environment more intimate, and putting thought into giving their fans memorable moments they can brag about to their friends or tell their future children about in an attempt to seem cool and relate.
Hopefully, Santigold will make her way back to Cleveland, and I’ll be able to snag one of those moments with her. Which, if she does come back, you should probably stop messing with the fake stuff, and go buy some ‘Gold.