Santigold’s new album, “Master of My Make-Believe”, may only be about 83% as good as its predecessor (2008′s eponymous eclect-a-thon) but you have to hand it to Santi White (for that’s the name on her PRS royalties cheques): she has a way of giving her songs an extra layer of pizazz in the live setting. And so, even the less exciting numbers on the record (step forward, “God From My Machine”) manage, when given an airing on stage, to make you think twice as to whether a loo break would be advisable at that moment in time.
Accompanied by two dead-pan and ferociously agile dancers, Santigold gave an exciting performance which was self-assured and always fun to watch. Vocally, she adorned the songs with a strong delivery and, although – acoustically speaking – Heaven is never knowingly amazing, the sound last night was perfectly engineered, so that White’s voice had just the right balance with the accompanying instrumentation and backing tracks.
She opened the set with “Go!”, the first buzz single from the new album, and with meticulously choreographed dance moves for each song, then went through some older numbers such as “L.E.S. Artistes” and “Lights Out” as well as current single, “Disparate Youth”. The beats would make even the most willful non-dancer quake in their stylish-yet-affordable brogues.
During the costume changes, we got some impressive shape-pulling from the dancers and at some point two of Santigold’s band members went off stage only to return a couple of moments later inside a pantomime horse. Well, as the ancient proverb goes: it’s her party and she’ll have horses if she wants to, have horses if she wants to, have horses if she wants to. (*drum roll, drum fill, cymbal!*).
Best bits of the show were debut album cuts, “Anne” (which wins ‘Best Choreography of the Night’ Award) as well as “Say Aha” and “Creator”, during which Santigold invited up to the stage a dozen or so punters to dance with her and her two sassy hip-shakers.
There really was a party feel to the show, which stayed on a constant level of seldom boring. It was the kind of performance that helps make sense of new songs when you’re at the point of not being sure whether you might need a few more listens to the album before it grows on you. And in terms of dishing out older favourites, with the only (conspicuous) omission of “I’m A Lady”, there was definitely enough for long-term fans to sink their teeth into.