After witnessing Santigold's performance at New York's Roseland Ballroom Thursday night, we're starting to think this genre-bending artist has the slickest backup dancers in the game.
After a classics-heavy DJ set from Questlove, Santi White demonstrated she's still Master of Her Make-Believe for a crowd of 2,500 at the Absolut-sponsored event. The singer-rapper and her live backing band were in fine form, but her backup dancers nearly stole the show.
With grass skirts, sunglasses and wide-shouldered shirts covered in footprints, they resembled a mix between hula dancers, Rihanna in the "Hard" video and that girl you know who only wears weird, secondhand sweatshirts. But their dancing was incredible: They executed everything from Riverdance moves to cheerleading high kicks, to Big Freedia-style ass-shaking in complete synchronization. Seriously, they moved with military precision.
But the most brilliantly confounding part of her show was the instrumental interim that allowed her to switch costumes. Apropos of nothing, two people in a frumpy horse costume trotted out on the stage, shaking their beastly rump to the rhythm. It was the kind of between-song entertainment you'd expect to see at a state fair, not a sleekly-outfitted NYC club. Especially considering multimedia artist Sanford Biggers (who recently helped out Jay-Z with that arty six-hour lip sync) designed a handcrafted Tiki-meets-outer space look specifically for the Absolut X event.
The show ended with Santigold bringing a few dozen people from the crowd onstage for "Big Mouth," during which she demonstrated a stunning affinity for hockey. Some a-hole tossed a cup toward her during the song and—without missing a note—she swapped it to the side with goalie-like accuracy. Because she hasn't merely mastered the Make-Believe: She owned that jerk in the crowd rather nicely, too.