Santigold at Lollapalooza 2012 | Photos and music review
I bet Santigold couldn't help but hum her own lyrics as the storms-a-pallooza'd the festival grounds earlier this afternoon: "Don't look ahead, there's stormy weather." No matter. After a hellacious evacuation and schedule shuffle, the gig was back on. "Well, we made it ya'll. We survived the storm," the pop star squealed to a muck-soaked crowd at Perry's stage, who seemed more than happy to forgo Flea's bass thumping for a wild romp in the goose poop.
And that's what those who staked out positions directly in front of the stage received this evening, as the rest of us went for the more sanitary option of shaking it on the grass and under the trees. "I'm so glad we got to play this show. I was really bummed, I'm not gonna lie," remarked the neon-green swathed sprite from the safety of the stage.
The thing about a pop-leaning act in a festival setting is this: It just works. By design, this music is meant to draw in the ears of casual listeners. When paired with loads of fog, flashes, lasers and, oh, a two-man horse costume (true story), it's all the more effective. That's not to say Santigold's brand of booty-shaking is by any means standard, because it isn't. First of all, the woman is 35 years old—ancient, by pop-princess standards. And she has a pedigree, having first worked for a major label before collaborating with the likes of Switch, Diplo (before Diplo worked with just about anyone) and folks associated with Bad Brains, among others. That's nothing to sneeze at. This maturity and knowledge of the industry gave birth to a slick lineup of infectious tunes accessible enough to appeal to co-eds, but with enough panache to appeal to the more fastidious set.
The first time she played Lolla in 2009, critics were amazed at the crowds she amassed. Today was no exception, given the fact that she was dueling with the Chili Peppers. And like a seasoned vet, she knew how to keep things interesting with just the right amount of banter, back-up dancer antics and bass-driven interludes between jammers such as "Disparate Youth," "Go," "L.E.S. Artistes" and "Lights Out."
My only complaint is that instead of, oh, Santigold being projected on the giant screens scattered through out the grounds, there were instead crappy lasers and polka dots reminiscent of the backdrop of my seventh-grade school portrait. That didn't make much sense to me, or any of the people around me saying things like, "I really wish I could see her better."
However, a few lucky folks did get to see her up close, as she even invited some of the Garbage Pail Kids onstage for dance party, hand-picking about 20 to join her. But much like everything else about this fest, her invite was crashed and nearly twice that many climbed up, clamoring for their spot in the strobe lights. "Okay, that's enough. I don't want any more people on stage," she firmly proclaimed. That's the other thing about 35—it's perfectly acceptable to lay down the law.