I’m excited to
report that most folks who came to check Santogold at The Paradise last
Saturday did not think she was M.I.A. The former might have been aggressive in
her allegations that those who compare the two are racist (though she also
might have been correct), but at this juncture it’s a phenomenon of mistaken
identity that she can stop harping on.
Before I recap
the sold out retro fest at the Paradise,
though, I’ll drag you through the latter part of Saturday – the part after I
left the Art Institute’s ‘Zine Fair and MASSCANN’S Hemp Fest. At about six
o’clock I arrived out near Boston University for the Underground Snowboards
block party – an event that’s mere existence was remarkable considering the
million dollar homes (presumably not owned by b-boys and hip-hop fans) down the
graf artists Sam Flores, Alex Pardee and N8 Van Dyke blasted the walls outside
Underground with a legal barrage of aerosol-empowered colors, a mess of kids
skated the makeshift course set up between police barricades. There was even a
snowboard ramp – with actual snow! Boom bap was in effect as well; for those of
us who wear fitted hats it’s always sweet to see evidence that our city is at
least somewhat tolerant of fringe activities.
I’m sure they
wouldn’t have admitted such, but it appeared that even the cops on duty had fun.
As 7L, Esoteric, Top Choice Clique, Raydar Ellis and Will C. unrolled the aural
entertainment, there was not a single reported noise violation. The show even
killed when the power cut for a few minutes, leaving Eso to deliver some a
capella comedy: “Have you read Adriana Lima’s blog?” he asked the crowd. “I’m
not on some let’s dis the supermodel shit, but she’s not too bright.”
The Dise was at
least one-third filled when the first act – L.A. rockers Low vs. Diamond – stepped on
stage. I can’t give a fair assessment of their set, though, for two reasons:
one is that I went to high school with the band’s lead singer Lucas Field, and
the other is that I’m incapable of writing about music that far outside the
hip-hop realm. What I can report, however, is that dozens of fans were there
specifically to see Low vs. Diamond; afterwards I had to move out of the way at
least five times so that girls could take pictures with my homeboy.
Despite the club
stinking like dinosaur turds all night, Santogold’s fiesta was a proper summer
send-off, fall welcoming, or whatever fans were looking for. Even college kids were
on their best behavior; probably because the types of girls who like Santo are more
impressed with dudes who dance than meatballs who sport fight.
Of course, there
were some North Shore steaks on hand as well (Santo does lace dance music after
all); maybe it’s that lame Converse ad with Pharrell and Julian Casablancas,
but she effectively lures cats from most corners of the taste spectrum. For
every rhinestone Affliction shirt there were two Abercrombie hoodies; and for
every three white kids there were…bad example.
entertaining watching people go wild over what they hardly get; in my opinion
we’re all still trying to figure out and categorize Santogold (the black
Blondie?). Right now all we really know is that she moves our bones; and for
anyone who came out Saturday, it’s also clear that her pipes are naturally
electric enough to ring as ridiculous up close as they do on record.
Extra props to
Santo’s dancers, too, and not just because they were piping hot. As much as I
deplore choreography (I know – it’s a lame pet peeve) their ostentatious
grooves and outfits fulfilled the hipster requirements that are necessary to
prevail on the contemporary dance-hop scene and allowed Santo to lay into some
When I first saw
Santo rock at South by Southwest this past March, you bet your ass I thought
she was M.I.A. I’d been drinking for four straight days at that point – plus
she was performing at a jam for Mad Decent. In the time since she’s not only
become so big that she can tell fans how high to jump; she can also tell them what kind of vintage
kicks they should jump in. It's only a matter of time before people start mistaking
M.I.A. for her.