Wednesday night in Baltimore was an extremely colorful one, one with a gold hue extending over the Inner Harbor section of the city. No, it wasn’t because of a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but because of the energy that was brought to town from Philadelphia based artist Santigold as her “We Buy Gold” tour arrived at Baltimore Soundstage.
Opening up the show was Brooklyn born female rapper DonMonique, who at first, the crowd wasn’t sure how to perceive her as we didn’t know what her “deal” was. When she first hit the stage, she told Baltimore to “turn up”, and at that point we knew she had some spark to her. She was a clear nod to femecee’s of the 90’s, styled like a young Foxy Brown and a slight vocal husk and flow pattern to her lyrics like Lil’ Kim when she first came out. In tow with her own DJ and hype woman, by the end of her set, the audience seemed to be feeling what she was selling, so much so, that they were chanting her name as she left the stage.
The stage was now being set for the main feature of the night. With a stage set that was simple yet effective, there were two inflatable lawn chairs placed on stage, that had me caught off guard for a minute. Knowing that Santigold was a single artist, it was made more clear to me when two female dancers walked on stage with a bag of Cheetos donned in over-sized white sweat shirts that read “Big Boss” and took their seat on stage.
Out walked Ms. Santigold in a bright yellow dress rocking a pin stripe blazer overtop. Opening the show with upbeat and eclectic “You’ll Find A Way“, a track lifted from her 2008 debut album “Santogold”, I had the feeling that this would not be your run of the mill “pop concert” and would set the pace for the rest of the show. Rolling right into her most successful and notable single to date, fans cheered, screamed and sang the words out loud to “L.E.S. Artistes“. That actually seemed to be the theme of the night, fans hollering in excitement when they hear the opening chords to her songs start to play. I’ve been to a lot of shows where fans are taken by surprise from a song, but her fans appear to be in tune to her music and live show extremely well, which I love to see.
Speaking on live shows, lets talk about how she incorporated live sounds and instruments into her show. A lot of artist these days tend to go the “easy” route of performing to a backing track with both pre-recorded vocals and instruments, but Santigold fully wanted to set herself apart from this treatment. Her concert came fully included with a full drum set and keyboardist, and to much surprise, herself on the bass. That’s right folks, the’s not just a one trick pony, she’s a singer, producer and plays a live instrument. At times, she even broke out into a few choreographed dance steps along with her BOSS dancers.
The most notable moment of the night for me, and about 25 other members of the crowd, came when she asked the question “who wants to come on stage and dance with me tonight?”. At that moment, there was a complete shift in the audience as fans jumped the barricade and ran to the side of the stage to get selected for this once in a lifetime opportunity. She gave a disclaimer though, that anyone who did get on stage HAD to put their cell phones away and live in the moment. As you can see on the video below, there’s always that ONE person who goes against the grain and pulls their phone out, but you check how Santigold handled it.
Fan interaction of this caliber always gets an artist extra points since it shows that they aren’t the “untouchable” beings that the media try to make them out to be. It also allows fans to get their 15 seconds of fame and maybe become the next Youtube star!
An encore ended the show after about an hour and some change in running time with two songs. Being that this was my first time seeing Santigold live, I felt much more familiar with her leaving the show. There were songs of her that she performed that I had certainly heard before, but didn’t even know it was her. You can tell a lot about an artist by the way that they put a show together, and her true individuality shined through via her unique sense of style, the imagery displayed on the video screen and how she infused different musical styles in her show, but still came off as one complete package.
Fans may have arrived by buying a ticket to the show, but left out buying all the way in to Santigold and what she has to offer. Her North American tour is set to come to a close in the next few weeks, but if you’re over seas, get ready, because she’s coming for you next!