Concert Reviews

Santigold at the Ogden, 5/29/12


Last night at the Ogden, there were horses and what looked like buffalo skins, elaborate umbrellas and a rhythm-perfect band dressed in...we don't know what. There were striking red, blue and green lights, with plenty of space for Santigold to emerge, flanked by two synchronized-singing, back-up-dancing drummer gals, wearing absolutely blinding smiles. Starting the show with "Go," Santigold (aka Santi White) opened up a can of weird for Denver last night. As the opening strains of "Go" played, the dancers came out with militant fervor, high stepping and jumping, taking their places on either side of Santigold, who mimicked their movements with a cool style of her own.

As the crowd moved and grooved with each other, enthralled with the lights and the dance moves, and shouted lyrics like party anthems, Santigold sang in a voice that was ethereal and perfect on tracks like "L.E.S. Artistes," "Lights Out" and "God from the Machine" before leaving for her first wardrobe change (there were three throughout the show) and returning for "Get it Up," which involved a cameo by a huge, fake, white horse (inside were her drummer and guitarist in perfect step).

As the show went on with ease, Santigold chatted up the crowd, joked with her band, talked about what a lovely city Denver is and performed new music from her latest effort, Master of My Make-Believe. The new tracks were woven in with the old tracks; "Hold the Line" (the Major Lazer collaboration) came right before "Disparate Youth" and presented a sharp contrast between Santigold's old style and new.

It was hard not to notice the Tina Turner inspired moments in her performance. Her movements and dance steps, however light, stood out the most. Using nothing but her shoulders in harmony with the two dancers, she wore a stoic face for the dance break during "The Keepers," making the audience scream at her slightest movements from that point on. She invited audience members up to dance with her during "Creator" and changed her get-up for the last half of the show.

This is when her most recognizable material of the night came, cuts like the now-Jay-Z-hijacked "Brooklyn Go Hard," as well as "Shove it," a track whose hook is even more hilarious when chanted by a huge crowd, "We think you're a joke. Shove your hope where it don't shine!" A lot of Santigold's lyrics are political and controversial in nature, making the entertainment factor of her show all the more essential -- an aim for which she clearly hit the mark.

Earlier in the evening, Charli XCX won the crowd over with a more upbeat Fiona Apple-esque style over some excellent beats, performing with such fervor that there was really no choice but to dance. While many were not familiar with her sound, she gave a wild opening set and left everyone cheering her name.


Personal Bias: Weird black girls rule. Santigold rules.

Random Detail: The show was briefly interrupted when one of Santi's dancer's couldn't remove the snare drum she was wearing.

By the Way: The audience was a serious mix of grown folks, party people, young kids and warrior head-bands with feather earrings. Wild.

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