Santigold at the Pageant, 6/13/12: Review, Photos and Setlist

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Kholood Eid
Santigold | Nee
June 13, 2012
The Pageant

Santi White cuts a boring figure on stage. Or at least she did last night during her set at the Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard). Sluggish and overly rehearsed, she was so much less interesting than the fascinating spectacle that surrounded her on stage. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. During a performance that was more show than concert, her badass back-up dancers hypnotized the audience with their twin expressionless faces (a la the ladies from Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" video) in sharp contrast to violent tribal motion and floor gymnastics, gyrating and gettin' it so fiercely it forgave Santigold's forced, lackluster stage presence.

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Kholood Eid
The evening began with local act Nee opening the show, a last minute line-up switch when rapper and fellow Brooklyn dweller Theophilus London dropped off the bill late last week. Nee front woman Kristen Dennis' sunny demeanor warmed the crowd for the forthcoming dance party, and the band's shiny, noisy pop played well.

Santigold, her three-piece band and those enthralling back-up dancers, took to the stage at 9:25 p.m. all clad in obligatory nonsense costumes combining DayGlo shades of neon with fringe and retro floral prints. Trading props all night long, the back-up dancers started as grungy, glow-in-the-dark cheerleaders, thrusting sparkly gold pom poms to a perfectly choreographed routine as Santigold sprung into "Go!" the first track on her recent release - and her first in four years - Master of My Make-Believe. Seconds into the song I turned to a friend..."Is she lip synching or is this just a really heavy backing track?" Throughout the set's ensuing 70 minutes we were never really sure. There was definitely a backing track to aid her vocals, and I'm pretty certain she was truly singing for most, if not all, of the show.

Honestly I don't really care either way. Had she been dancing strenuously it wouldn't have been worth noting at all, but perhaps it was more distracting as she stood idle for much of the set, occasionally walking to stage left or right to engage the crowd or halfheartedly join her dancers for a quick shimmy, shake or booty thrust here, there. Santigold has addressed lip-synching - her own and other artists' - before, and I'm satisfied with her explanation that sometimes it exists to enhance art, not replace it or fake it. The trouble with applying that to her performances is when she herself offers little else work with. But then, the clubbin' crowd at the Pageant hardly cared.

"Go!" was followed by two fan favorites from White's 2008 self-titled first release, "L.E.S. Artistes" and "Lights Out" -- arguably her best known songs and certainly what elevated the audience's energy from dancy enthusiasm to kinetic insanity. The show clearly didn't hit capacity - tickets were still on sale up until Nee performed and the balcony was closed off - but the pit was teeming with a young crowd. If a bit over-rehearsed, the set was tight and well-executed with three tidy wardrobe changes -- the back-up dancers had the edge on awesome outfits, too - and bizarre displays like White donning a gold streamer cape and two people dressed in a white horse/pony costume joining her cadre on stage before "Disparate Youth." I can only imagine how trippy that was for those in the audience already riding the white horse.

There were several clear highlights during the show, most notably during "Creator" and "Shove It" from her self-titled album. As "The Keepers" came to a close, White invited what felt like half the audience to join her on stage for "Creator" and that felt like the way the entire show should have been; Santigold dancing and singing on stage with her fans, who threw themselves into the song with spark and passion that White clearly fed off of. As the track ended so did the on-stage dance party, with Pageant security corralling the rave back into the pit from whence it came.


Location Info

Map

The Pageant

6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO

Category: Music

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6 comments
Big_oaf2
Big_oaf2

      I adore Santigold's music, and thought I haven't seen here live I watched the streams of her performances at both Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals this year (admittedly not the way to catch live music) and after watching her I feel like she's an excellent performer. That said there's no need to insult the writer's appearance.

Bertha
Bertha

Yeah! Fuck her and her opinion! HOW DARE SHE! Fucking opinionated betch! 

Adams Atoms
Adams Atoms

Liz Miller is lame, out of touch and most likely an overweight, middle-aged failed artist.

karnivore
karnivore

Yeah, was this lady at the same show as the rest of us? We found it to be thoroughly entertaining from start to finish.  The music sounded great, everyone was having fun, and Santi was very personable with the crowd. Perhaps the reviewer would enjoy herself more at the upcoming def leppard concert, where there wont be any of those damned young'ins to ruin the show

Nickl7589
Nickl7589

Wow, how did the RFT screw up and accidentally sending the most uncool person in the office to a Santigold show?

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