Mother nature couldn’t have picked a better night to wash the city clean then Wednesday [insert extreme sarcasm here]. Severe thunderstorms and flash flooding aside I slipped on my concert wear, hooked an umbrella to my arm and dragged my music loving a@# to the House of Blues.
Hot off the release of her long awaited sophomore album, Master of My Make-Believe, Santigold, AKA Santi White, finally made it back to the HOB stage after three years and a name change (formerly Santogold). In today’s fast paced, “I want everything now” society it’s almost unheard of to wait three years for an artist to release an album, let alone their second. But there’s something to be said about the wait…the anticipation of new music and the constant search for news or info on what your favorite artists are up to. For me, the wait has been painful because yes, I secretly wish I was the third back-up dancer to Santigold, or even just a fly on the wall during her writing and recording sessions. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a fan.
Drawing the usual young and diverse crowd, this was the perfect venue for Ms. White. Large enough to pack a crowd yet intimate enough to feel the energy in the back of the house, this is the type of show I love to see at the House of Blues. My expectations were definitely high considering the brilliance of her 2009 tour and even though Master of my Make-Believe didn’t wow me as much as her debut effort, I was anxious to see how the new blended with the old.
The musicians took the stage flanked in what I would call tribal safari gear, followed by the secret sauce of Santi’s shows, her background dancers. More on them later…
The show opened with Go!, track one of her latest release that features the AMAZING Karen O. from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. No, Karen did not make an appearance (that would have been epic) but Santigold carried the tune off beautifully, making you completely forget this was intended for two truly distinct female vocalists. No time was wasted getting to tracks of her debut, Santogold, and I must say, the two albums blended perfectly together.
Mired with technical issues in the beginning White made repeated trips to the side of the stage to converse with the sound booth but overall the group handled it beautifully. The only annoyance with the technical difficulties was the revelation of the backing tracks being played with the music. No hate here, I understand this type of music can be hard to pull off without them, but I like to remain a naive concert goer and believe every sound effect is achieved live. Moments of frustration were seen on Ms. White’s face but she moved on like a pro and continued to amp up the crowd with an ease and grace you rarely see in a live performer. And yes, the backing tracks seemed to fade away once the sound problems were fixed.
Track after track from L.E.S. Artistes to Disparate Youth, Big Mouth and Freak Like Me it was a shame I was packed like a sardine in general admission because you can’t help but want to dance your ass off. That leads me to one of my favorite parts of the show, Santigold’s duo of stone faced, scintillating dancers, the SG-1’s. Perfectly choreographed, unabashedly sexy and all without cracking a smile these chicks are visual perfection. I found myself staring at the SG-1’s at times more then White herself and anxiously waiting to see what they would morph into next. Multiple outfit changes later (for the entire band), a giant horse, psychedelic umbrellas and enough booty shaking that Sir Mix a Lot would approve, this might just be the must see show of the summer.
A delicious blend of rock, pop, new wave, indie and probably a dozen other genres you could reference in her music, Santigold knows how to bring nothing but fun to the stage, literally. Selecting an energetic group from the crowd White turned the stage into a dance club, but not before instructing the fame hungry patrons to move back so the show could still go on. In true rock star style she sang, danced and endured a plethora of leg humps during her ultra popular hit Creator.
The night ended with a Spank Rock special, B.O.O.T.A.Y and the opportunity for the SG-1’s to impress me yet again with their..uh hummm…dancing magic. Santigold put on a stellar HOB show while solidifying my admiration for the multidimensional artist and her troupe of dancing divas.