Santi White, or Santigold, knows the difference between being a musician and a performer. As the crowd chanted her name, she and two back up dancers entered the 9:30 Club stage on June 18th to the foreboding opening sounds of her new single “GO!” The club had played rap favorites “Next Episode” and “Watch the Throne” during the set change, so the crowd was warmed up and jumped right into dancing and pumping their fists along to Santigold’s chant of “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!”
The backup dancers abandoned their golden pom-poms for sledge hammers as Santigold crooned the opening lines of “L.E.S. Artistes,” physically acting out the song’s metaphor of building a wall. Next were “Lights Out” and “Say Aha,” singles off Santigold’s (then called “Santogold”) 2008 self-titled debut album. After an action-packed early set, Santi White addressed the crowd. Exceedingly friendly and humble, Santi said that she loves playing DC and had done so three or four times before, opening for Architecture in Helsinki and Bad Brains. Giggling, she told the story of opening for Bad Brains:
I was SO nervous! And I don’t drink…but I drank. And had false confidence from two vodka cranberries. And I came out and said to the crowd, “You need more energy!” And someone yelled back, “YOU need more energy!” So now I’m back, and I have more energy.
And have more energy, she did! Her voice was strong and her demeanor peppy. The crowd responded by erupting into a full-out dance party, mimicking the dynamism emanating from the stage.