Santigold captivates a packed Fox Theater with help from her SG1 dancers

Santigold

Santigold has had a long, successful 2012. Santi White’s star is rising fast, and she’s done it by releasing genre-bending tracks that are super catchy, and by touring endlessly. In support of her current material, Santigold first appeared in the bay area headlining Sea of Dreams on New Years Eve almost a year ago. That was four months before her addictive LP Master of My Make-Believe was released. Santi played a short festival set at Outside Lands opposite Jack White, so it was a pleasure to experience a full Santigold show at a sold out Fox Theater Oakland on Wednesday.

Santigold

Santigold’s unique sound blends electronic production, indie rock sensibilities and hip hop phrasing and confidence. She’s likable & relatable in her new record, and it translates at her live show.

From the beginning of “Go!” the disparate crowd was fully engaged all night long, even during great ballads like “The Riot’s Gone.” She said her bay area fans are her favorite rather convincingly, she smiled and showed emotion comfortably on stage, and her stage banter helped her connect with the audience.

Santigold

Santigold

Her 2012 record Master of My Make Believe makes more sense live because Santigold gets to act out the different parts she’s established. She exudes femininity and is strong and powerful. Her outfits are outrageous and fun, and her SG1 background dancers fill the stage with props and casually precise choreography.

Santigold’s live performance is decidedly “feminist” (can we find a more positive term for this), not only because she celebrates girl-power and female creativity. Her all-male backing band is figuratively emasculated in their outfits, which look like they work at Hot Dog on a Stick at the mall. The band’s outfit certainly works with the 80s-nouveau aesthetic overall, and it reminds you that this Santigold & SG1’s parade.

Santigold

Santigold

It’s Santigold’s SG1 dancers who provide a large portion of the entertainment value at Santigold’s live show. Without them, stronger lighting and video accompaniment would be necessary. But the SG1 dancers fill out the stage, and their style wreaks of post-ironic swagger, without a hint of a smile. They work with props like pom-poms, umbrellas, briefcases, and sledgehammers while performing backup singing duties at times. Their staged antics are highly entertaining, and their pantomiming performance alongside Santigold’s strong delivery harks back to Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

Santigold

Santigold

One of the show highlights was when Santigold brought up selected super-fans to dance to “Creator,” which is certainly an allusion to the viral video from Sasquatch 2009, where one person started a huge dance party on the lawn during “Unstoppable,” which was a moment that really put Santigold on the map. “Big Mouth” capped off the set with a nice peak, bookending the set with the opening and closing tracks from Master of My Make Believe.

Santigold

The absence of “Look at These Hoes,” the most exciting and aggressive track off Santigold’s newest LP, was a slight disappointment. The night ended with a song that had the SG1 dancers showing off their “dirty south’ moves, showcasing their booties as the final prop of the night.

After touring for over a year, it would be easy to go through the motions. But Santigold made her material feel fresh and far from stale, proving why she is So Damn Gold.

Santigold

Santigold

Santigold

Santigold

Santigold

Santigold

Santigold

Santigold

Santigold

Comments

  1. Molly Kish says:

    Great shots Frash, such a fun show!

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