Last Night: Santigold at the Warfield

Categories: Last Night
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Thursday, May 21, 2009
The Warfield Theater

Review by Jesse Ducker

Better Than: A bloodless M.I.A. concert

"It feels like the first day of school!" Santigold told a screaming, full house at the Warfield last night, on the opening date of her national tour. "We've got new outfits and everything!"

Bay Area residents turned out in droves to see Santigold, packing the music hall to the rafters. And while a good amount of the fans were the to-be-expected twentysomething hipster crowd, a few grey hairs and bald spots could be spotted here and there.

The Philadelphia native and current Brooklyn resident kept the capacity crowd thoroughly entertained for just under an hour; it's unclear whether her brand new outfit (black Velour shirt and gold jacket) was the source of her inspiration--although there was something to those removable shirt pockets... (more on that later).

The set was short, simple, and to the point, which worked well. There weren't many wasted moments in what was a polished performance by the up-and-coming indie electro singer. When not running through crowd favorites like "L.E.S. Artistes," "You'll Find a Way," and "Light's Out" (apparently the first time she's performed that one in the U.S.), Santigold repeatedly gushed about her band's multi-colored, Velcro shirt pockets. Meanwhile, her pair of female "dancers" spent a good deal of time remaining stoic, instead of, you know, dancing. They didn't really get into it until about 15 minutes into the set, when they did the "Superman" to Soulja Boy Tell 'Em's "Turn My Swag On." It was a trend grabbing moment in an otherwise genuine concert.

Santigold seemed most earnest in her interactions with the audience, signing a record for one fan, and shouting out her alma mater, Wesleyan University. Besides showing love for the Wesleyan soccer team, she gave a moment of silence for Johanna Justin-Jinich, the recently murdered student at the university.

The concert's highlights, though, came when the singer got creative. She went from her verses on the Jay-Z collabo "Brooklyn Go Hard" into "Shove It" (which the former song samples). She later brought out the show's opener Amanda Blank to do a cover of LL Cool J's "I Need Love," mixing it with her own hit "I'm a Lady." She also gave a raucous performance of a song by her old punk rock band, Stiffed, shouting out "the three people in the audience who've heard of my old group." The song stood in stark contrast to her electronics-fueled set, making it sound even stronger.

Last night it was apparent that Santigold is well-versed in giving the audience what they want, without extra bells and whistles. She's also learned to keep them begging for more, which will be key for the next time she comes back in town.

Personal Bias: My younger brother went to Wesleyan, so I was eagerly awaiting her to acknowledged her former university.

Random Detail: People still wear bright pink platform shoes unironically.

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