All hail the hip-hop/indie queen, still on top after all these years.
“I never thought I’d get to see Santigold like this,” the person standing behind me said to her friend. The indie hip-hop singer has been notoriously hard to see live outside of New York and L.A., especially in recent years. Although she headlined Chicago’s Mamby on the Beach in 2016, she hadn’t been in the city since then. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of her debut album, Santigold decided to take her band and two incredible dancers on the road for the 10 Years Golder tour. Selling out The Vic in Chicago was easy. As I stood in line with one of my best friends, we talked about how we felt right at home with other concert-goers. Most people looked to be in their late 20s-early 30s and were excited to dance and have a wild Wednesday night.
Santigold started off the show with the remix of “You’ll Find a Way“, a track that showcases her impressive ability to shift from powerful to soft vocals. Her two female dancers were dressed in bright tennis skirts, neon leggings, and colorful visors. They moved in a perfect pair on opposite sides of the stage and played with the vibe of the track, moving in circles and doing an impressive version of the robot. Next, Santigold went into one of her most famous tracks, “L.E.S. Artists”. As I was in the photo pit, the entire front row behind me freaked out and knew every word. One fan, covered in glitter, screamed at the top of their lungs loud enough for Santigold to notice and sing with them for a bit.
“Thank you all so much!” Santigold said about halfway through her set, appearing to be deeply moved by the applause. As she talked about her 2008 album Santogold, someone shouted “It was my high school CD!” Santigold laughed, rolled her eyes, and said “I’m so much older than you!” She talked about how she moved from Brooklyn to L.A. just under 2 years ago and had given birth to two children since. She lamented how exhausting and difficult having kids really is, and said “give it up for all the women who’ve had babies!”
The most exciting moment of the show came during “Creator”, her debut single from Santogold. “I feel like dancing!” she said, motioning to the crowd. “Who wants to dance with me?” People cheered, but Santigold kept motioning for fans to come up onstage. The entire front row started climbing over the barricade and going up the stage stairs to jam out with their favorite singer. “The only rule,” Santigold said to the crowd onstage, “is you cannot use your cell phones! Put your phones away, we’re here to dance!”
After a quick costume change and some dance solos from her backup dancers, Santigold came back out to finish the show strong. She played my favorite song, “Disparate Youth”, and I eagerly danced alongside my friend and sang along. The entire show was upbeat, exciting, and so worth the wait. I don’t know if Santigold will tour again anytime soon, but I will be right back in line if she does.