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Santogold - 20 July 2008: New York, Central Park SummerStage

Words and Pictures by Thomas Hauner.

Summers in New York City are synonymous with SummerStage, and the 2008 season has seemingly dubbed Santogold its breakout star. As Converse ads with Pharrell and opening gigs with Gnarls Barkley have become the norm for her, she is now more commercial than she ever was indie. And after enduring an afternoon’s worth of 100-degree temperatures for 30 minutes of routine performing, it seemed that Santogold’s solipsism was her most defining characteristic.

After a tag-team of DJs and styles, numerous dance crews, and half-ass hype men, a somewhat anticipated, though brief, headlining show for Santogold transformed into a sweltering and anticlimactic Sunday at Central Park’s SummerStage. The afternoon show—produced by MeanRed as part of their Madfools party—promised to deliver “a spectacular display of confetti cannons, beach balls, dancing monsters, and performances by the reigning stars of international dance floors.” It was more akin to a hazy water fight with birthday party favors.

Entertaining the masses until her arrival were DJ Blaqstarr and Kid CuDi, who galvanized the crowd from its heat-induced ennui. Later, A-Trak was capable of kick-starting the dancing with both throwback (Jackson 5, Notorious B.I.G.) and current (Lil’ Wayne) beats. With Diplo joining him at his Technics, the duo got a warm reception. But as Diplo took over the scene, not even waves of “Get Mad” dancers in ridiculous costumes and makeup could keep the audience’s attention any longer than the nearest available squirt gun.

Overall, the energy and excitement seemed to evaporate as quickly as each Super-Soakers’ ammo.

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