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Review: Santigold fills Columbus’ Newport Music Hall with afro-beats

MIRIAM HANDLER / For The Lantern

I could feel the excitement in the air upon leaving the rainy sidewalk of High Street and walking through the big doors into the Newport Music Hall Thursday. Not only was Santigold, whose real name is Santi White, less than an hour from walking onstage, but for the many who purchased their tickets for the rescheduled show back in June, it was finally here.

There was nothing complicated about Santigold’s performance. No confetti cannons, no light show, just Santigold, her band and her two stone-faced backup dancers. Oh, and there were also two people in a horse costume, but I think everyone in the audience is still trying to figure out exactly how that one fit in.

While Santigold’s robotic dancers had no extravagant appearance and their dance moves were amateur at best, they stole a lot of the crowd’s attention for the greater amount of the time they were on stage.

They didn’t show one emotion throughout the entire set, they just kept their poker faces on and danced in front of, behind and with the main performer.

The majority of the songs Santigold sang were from her April-released album, “Master of my Make-Believe.”

She also shared a few tracks from her first hit CD, “Santogold,” which released in 2008, as well as a song in which she collaborated with Spank Rock that she sang for her second encore.

A blend of afro-pop, hip-hop and indie rock, Santigold’s music didn’t equate at all to the comparisons I had heard of being drawn between her and M.I.A. before. Santigold’s sound seemed completely her own.

Unlike many performers I’ve seen in the past, Santigold barely talked to the audience during her show. There were a few “How’s it going tonight’s,” a lesson on how to correctly say Santigold’s name and a lot of big smiles from the artist, but none of the anecdotes and jokes that often fill the time in between songs.

About half way through the show Santigold invited audience members from the front few rows to join her on stage, only limiting them to using no flash photography and not knocking her down while they were up there. While the dress and age of the audience members dancing on stage were anything but uniform, it was obvious that each of them were completely thrilled to be dancing around a pop star.

Overall, Santigold’s show was interestingly simple and definitely worth the wait for the many fans who bought their tickets months ago.­­­­

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