Photos By: Summer Luu
By: Ryo Miyauchi
On the artwork of her latest album, 99¢, Santigold is shrink-wrapped as a package with her instruments, sold at the price point of — you guessed it — 99 cents.
Likewise, the creative direction for her House of Blues show flirted a lot with commodification and advertisement. Throughout her set, Santi sang in front of a backdrop of grocery aisles and all-over pattern of microwaves and other kitchenware. The phrase of her bright yellow dress read as such: “We buy gold,” the name of her tour, written in all caps.
Santigold has been down this path since her self-titled debut, taking the process of production in to own her hands. By the look of the audience, the 2008 album is still a collection of music which resonates with her fan base most. From “Unstoppable” to “Lights Out,” fans had the most enthusiastic response to tracks from her debut. It’s where she first made her name, after all.
Her supermarket theme and poke at the commercial came alive through choreography. Her duo of dancers strutted to the stage to “L.E.S. Artistes,” wielding a selfie stick like a theater prop. During the second half of the show, Santi and her dancers return to the stage rolling shopping carts to push in sync to the song. Both sunglasses-sporting dancers stuck to their signature stoic look with their face never cracking any sort of expression, only making their moves look tougher.
Despite all the capitalist imagery, Santigold only took the time during her set to share one message in particular: “I’m all in for technology, but when we are out here to dance and party, just dance and party!” She seemed a bit bothered by the audience recording the show through their phones when she wanted them to move to the beat instead – not the first time the issue has been raised with a San Diego crowd.
Because at the end of the night, Santigold’s show was about fun above all. Her reference on commercialism seemed less as heavy political critique than a simply playful idea riffing off her latest album. More than any particular visual or choreography, the highlight of the night was Santi inviting her fans up on the stage to perform “Creator” together. “Got no need for them fancy things, all the attention that it brings,” she started to sing while surrounded by a crowd of fans. True to her words, just a beat and a team of dancers were all she needed to prove her point.