Santogold...always believe in your...
Saturday night, a free gig given to competition winners in the pouring rain, well, that’s not the most enticing prospect for a support act is it? Many acts may have baulked at this opportunity but Santogold grabbed it with both hands and then gave it a dancehall lesson.
The clear thing about Santogold is that she is a performer and you can't imagine her being phased by this type of gig or indeed any festival where she may have turned up this summer. If you stuck her in a box room with only a backing tape for company she'd be giving it everything, so its to her credit that she pulls out all the stops to make her set worth watching.
The two dancers flanking her are tremendous entertainment alone and will no doubt eventually break off and start their own Santogold splinter project. Stage dancers in the UK have gathered a bad name with comparisons to Bez from the Happy Mondays never being too far away but this was stage dancing the way it was meant to be.
It wasn't delivered to be the centre of attention, it was delivered to add to the enjoyment of the show and in doing so, it became far more enjoyable and noticeable than if the girls had walked out on stage waving banners saying "Hi, we're dancers, please look at us." Sometimes less can be more and the non-musical elements of Santogold's set came up trumps on that score.
This may lead you to think that the music was going to let her down but again, you'd be way off the score with that. The musicians were in the background, almost dressed for their day job, deliberately not drawing attention to themselves. Just like the dancers though, they worked for the attention and by the end of the set when Santogold had ran off stage, the band lingered for a while and duly received the praise they had earned.
Considering it was an open air concert in September in Manchester, the bass was phenomenal. Almost from the first track it was as much about feeling the bass as hearing it and this was a strong catalyst for the infectious dancing that was breaking out in front of the stage. When a band is that tight, it can be hard to stop yourself from getting involved with the music but honestly, why would you even try to prevent yourself?
It still seems that Santogold is at the stage of building up her profile and winning her fans over but she is certainly deserving of being billed just behind Massive Attack. Songs like ‘LES Artistes’ worked even in such grim conditions and are capable of working anywhere. If she is still on a touring cycle next summer, Santogold is going to kill on the main stage at all the festivals. Get your dancing shoes ready and your best moves rehearsed because you won’t get a better chance to let yourself go for an hour.