Concert review and set list: Santigold delivers totally tubular set at the Pageant, Tuesday, June 12
Santigold is a proud child of the ’80s. Her genre-jumping songs are thoroughly modern. Yet they usually carry an ’80s element, whether it’s the Goth rock of Siouxsie and the Banshees or the electronic new wave of Devo or the punk rock of Bad Brains.
She even sported an ’80s look upon entering the stage last night at the Pageant, wearing a bright yellow floral patterned vest and shorts with teal tassels of yarn on the sleeves. Her dancers wore sunglasses and stone-cold expressions that contrasted with their mad dancing skills as the band opened with the hyperactive “Go!,” her first single from her new album, “Master of My Make Believe.” They even shook pom-poms at one point.
The dancers proved to be quite inspiring as many women I talked to ached to be up there doing the same. This was probably because the moves, while effective, were all quite simple — the kind of moves that would make one say, “Hey, I could do that!”
After “Go!” worked the near-capacity crowd into a tizzy, Santigold and her three backing musicians settled into a trio of hits from her stellar 2008 self-titled debut album. Her dancers air-pounded sledgehammers to a cool effect during “L.E.S Artistes.” Seeing Santigold and her dancers move during “Say Aha” brought to mind Jane Fonda circa 1982. Of course, that song would make anyone want to jazzercise.
Costume changes occurred early and often — those costumes and dance moves may not always make a whole lot of sense, but they’re usually entertaining.
Her stage set was sparse — just a “Jimmy Fallon Show”-esque curtain in the background. This was the opposite of the last time she was here, where a huge gaudy boom box served as a backdrop and corporate signage for Bacardi was everywhere.
Santigold’s sense of humor and playfulness was on display throughout the show, especially when a big, white horsey lumbered onto center stage to dance while the backup dancers cowgirled it up and swung lassos. (Was that I’ll Have Another in his second career perhaps?) Santi’s humor also could be found at the merch table where she appeared as a businessman (among other costumes) on the cover of her new album.
It was hard to pick exceptional songs the way the crowd’s energy level remained sky-high all night. However, songs like “Fame” “Creator” and “Shove It” proved to be especially roof-raising. Santigold’s vocal range was put to the test on “Anne.” She passed with flying colors.
During the encore, she played her Spank Rock collab song “B.O.O.T.A.Y.,” which was cool, though not as crowd-pleasing as when she played the Cure’s “Killing an Arab” last time she was here. The crowd was ready for a second encore but it was not to be.
Though it took her until she was in her 30s, everyone at the show last night sure seemed glad Santi White gave up her A&R job to become a full-time rock star. She may never graduate to playing arenas due to her all around mainstream-repelling freakiness. Judging from a lyric from my favorite new Santigold song — “We don’t want the fame” — maybe she’s totally fine with that.
God From the Machine
Get It Up
Freak Like Me
This Isn’t Our Parade
Pirate in the Water
You’ll Find a Way