Santigold’s roots are in punk (via her old Philly band Stiffed) as much as they are label A&R (via her tenure as an Epic Records agent), so be not surprised by her outright gaming of The System when it turned its gaze on her. There was one great album, which spawned a great mixtape, memorable videos, many cameos, and a billion commercial syncs. Last night was her first show with material from her forthcoming, second record (titled Master Of My Make Believe) in tow, so be not surprised that she was perfectly prepared, and generally perfect, performing a theatrical set she knew would be on YouTube within 12 hours. (At this point, three songs — “God From The Machine,” “Big Mouth,” “Disparate Youth” are up, and below.) Some would make the mistake of making this a tune-up; Santi made it feel like a fully realized set piece.
Santi’s still flanked by her S1W-styled ladies, who are bringing a lot more Skerrit Bwoy to their post-PE cheeky/militant sunglassed swagger. She wore a crown all night and multiple outfits throughout: while she changed, her ladies danced suggestively and combatively; between songs, a Sandman in faux-flattop wig strutted out and swept away the confetti debris. Also: a big horse (costume) was involved for “Hold The Line.” Opener Spank Rock contributed his verse on “Shove It” and joined again for the “B.O.O.T.A.Y.” encore. There was a backing band with post-modern bling necklaces, there were prop umbrellas and daggered-up choreography, and there was Santi, who moved in and out of it all, confident with improved dance skills and great new material. About the new songs: They came and went quickly, but “great” is a fair assessment, as are the other phrases I jotted into my phone (“return of new wave”; “lots more dancehall”; “ghostly moans”; “someone just said ’there’s that song from the commercial’”). Get ready to talk about Santi a lot, for awhile, again.
Those new songs:
“God From The Machine”
And don’t forget “Go.” Master Of My Make Believe is due this spring via Downtown. It features production by Dave Sitek. Santi’s at MHOW again tonight (both shows sold out), and will open for Red Hot Chili Peppers in the US this year.