Just one long day ago, I headed off to Central Park to watch Ms. Santi Santogold White perform at SummerStage. I took some time in advance to brace myself for the sheer volume of gun necklaces, desert scarves, and neon-glow, retro eighties wear directly off the shelves of the local Urban Outfitters, but the heat made it so that even the most hipster-ish of hips couldn’t bare the thought of those skin-tight jeans.
The show started at three, though the anticipated headliner didn’t take the stage until around six. To fill the void, a cast of DJ’s and MC’s including Diplo (rather attractive in person), A-Trak, Kid Cudi and Blaqstarr blasted beats for three whole hours. I don’t remember much of it after the first hour, mainly due to Blaqqstar’s every-other-minute repetition of “Get it, Shawty! Where all the hot ladies at NYC?” and a general tickling feeling all throughout my palms and feet. I’m not sure why all the hot ladies weren’t representing (perhaps there was some fronting going on), but I kept praying that one of them would just answer that obnoxious, obnoxious man’s calling for sanity’s sake.
It was miserably hot, and I must have lost around eight pounds through my pores alone. But alas, like anyone who knows me can attest to, I remained stoic. Just as I began to turn to my friends to say, “Fuck you all, I’m leaving,” Santi’s emotionless, Ray-Ban donning dancer/singers arrived on stage, staring down the crowd in preparation for Santogold. I think that was about when I decided to stick it out. Lacking a grand entrance or exit, Santogold walked out onto stage and began her hard-hitting offering of the Santi experience.
Within moments, she zoomed through “You’ll Find A Way (Switch & Sinden Remix)” which I personally thought was her best performance of the afternoon. Call me a sucker for dramatics, but I absolutely loved the fierce little dance breaks between the “run for cover” chorus skip that drones on like an damning, industrial machine gun.
She quickly plowed through “L.E.S. Artistes” and “Say Aha,” and then opted to take down the BPM a bit for “Anne,” which was a curiously tame choice to me. “Shove It” was next, and was just as punchy as I hoped it would be live; a real kiss-off bout of attitude that the crowd seemed to gobble up as much as she did. As a person, Santogold seemed rather genuine on stage, so it felt good to watch her giggle to the crowd and jump around. From there she continued onto a downbeat streak with the Brooklyn anthem “Unstoppable” and “Starstruck,” her lusciously crawling seducer.
By this point the crowd was still eager to move, though evidently a bit fatigued at that point. “Don’t do an encore,” she laughed to the crowd before starting the final track, “because I seriously don’t have any other songs.” With one final pull for energy from the audience, Santi and crew went into full celebration mode to launch her final hands-in-the-air grinding groove, “Creator,” as the show came to a close as quickly as it had opened.
And so, that was that. It felt like twenty minutes, and I think it actually was. Looking back, I guess no one could be mad that the show flew by so quickly. She essentially performed her entire album, save about three tracks. Santi announced that she’ll be on tour with Coldplay next, which may sound strange until you remember that it was BjÃ¶rk who invited her on tour last year.
To the top right is an ultra high quality photograph of the performance. To the top left, a sassy photograph. I’ve circled the Santi in red in case you can’t quite locate her there. Yes, I was that close. Jealous?