Seeing Santigold Live at Bogart’s

Last night was very nostalgic for me and my friends. Several of us had arranged to meet at Bogart’s for the Santigold concert, but no one had nailed what time they planned to arrive, so when I showed up a few minutes before Santigold was supposed to take the stage (I had missed the opening act completely), I wondered if I got there too late.

As it turned, out though, everyone—and this was three different groups of friends—showed up right around that time, not because they wanted to blow off the opening act but because, like me, they were running around and doing all that stuff you gotta do before you can go out and have fun.

Which was okay, because once we got in there we all had a great time, and so did everyone else. Bogart’s was packed with a young and energetic crowd that danced and sang along and sweated as much as Santigold, who by  the second or third song had already grabbed a towel to wipe off her sweat. The sound was as good I have heard at a live concert—clean, with clear highs and lows, and the volume was kept in check. Toward the end of the concert the music took a strong club turn, which meant, of course, we heard some of that fuzzy bass that’s so low it makes the fillings in your teeth rattle, but even there the people mixing the sound knew exactly what they were doing. According to my friends, the sound at the recent Psychedelic Furs show was equally impressive.

And all that bodes well. Bogart’s has a long history in Cincinnati, with lots of great shows, and it can return to what it used to be, only better. It felt good after the show ended to see the crowd mingling on the sidewalk and debating where to go next. We ended up across the street at the Dive Bar, which is where the Sub Galley used to be. I’d never been there before, and I was happy to learn that A) they had a good beer selection, and B) they had a deck out back. It had been a long time since there was a place to go for a drink after a Bogart’s show (remember Dollar Bills, or the Sub Galley before it went from being a cool bohemian haunt to a pit?), and I recommend Dive Bar. All in all, it turned out to be a great night, and I feel optimistic about Short Vine’s future.

To return to a minute to the music I saw last night: Santigold is a natural entertainer with a great sense of humor. On top of that, she has something that few artists have: a stack of solid, well-arranged songs, even though she’s only two albums into her career. Toward the end of the show songcraft gave way to raw rhythms, and by the time she got to the encore she had no interest in singing the next great pop masterpiece. By then I think all she wanted to do was have fun, which is how the audience was feeling too. Here are a couple of the songs I posted on youtube:

After I posted these and other videos on my youtube page (which is called CincinnatiShines, by the way), someone left comments that helped fill me in on some of the details on the concert – including a setlist; thanks to AstroSharkz (youtube moniker) for helping me out. Here’s the setlist for the night:

1. Go! 2. L.E.S. Artistes 3. Lights Out 4. Say Aha 5. God From the Machine 6. Get It Up 7. Hold the Line 8. Disparate Youth 9. Anne 10. This Isn’t Our Parade 11. The Keepers 12. Creator 13. Freak Like Me 14. Starstruck 15 .Brooklyn (We Go Hard) 16. Shove It 17. Look At These Hoes 18. Fame 19 Big Mouth and the encore was 20. You’ll Find A Way 21. B.O.O.T.A.Y.

Finally, to explain the picture at the top of this blog entry. As a roving reporter, I was of course required to elect the most well-dressed person at the event, and the woman in the photograph won top honors hands down with her heart-shaped sunglasses, peace sign and sunny smile.

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