Last night Santigold celebrated the release of her sophomore album Master of My Make-Believe (out today) with a show at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom. Fellow downtown, cool kid favorite Theophilus London opened for her. It was an excellent pairing—two artists that coast just above the underground scene and put on great performances when they touch the stage.
The night was filled with memorable moments, from Theo gifting a fan with a trippy treat after kicking her in the head to Santi apologizing to Jay-Z, who came through, for making him miss the Knicks game. Here are the best things about last night’s show.
Written by Brad Wete (@BradWete)
Theophilus London uses two mics: one for rapping, one for comedy.
London set up two microphones for his performance. One was for, you know, rapping. The other was a bit distorted, supposedly for singing on certain songs. But when he eventually reached for it the mic didn’t work. After explaining how hard he worked to set everything up perfectly, he told the crowd “I want to sound like Brian McKnight.” Then, in the highest pitch he could muster up, Theo sang, “Let me show you how your pussy works…” Hilarious.
If Theophilus London kicks you in the head, he'll make it up to you.
London loves to crowd surf. He leapt into the crowd’s willing hands three times last night. The only problem was that there was a soft spot full of not-so-strong women up near the front. When Theo was handed over to them, he landed so poorly that he accidentally kicked a girl’s head. Apologizing to her just wasn’t enough, so he reached into his pocket and gave her something for her troubles. Aww.
Theophilus’ upcoming mixtape, Rose Island is going to be a downtown rap head’s dream.
For the last couple of months, London’s been performing cuts from Rose Island and yesterday was no different. Even without the big A$AP Rocky guest verse, he still annihilated with “Big Spender” then killed them softly with his chilled-out love song “Lisa.”
If those are any indication, the tape’s going to be dope. He also performed some joints from his recently released Timez Are Weird These Nights, the remix version of his 2011 debut Timez Are Weird These Days. That too is worth a listen.
Santigold’s outfits are really, um, interesting!
Santi changed outfits three times last night and each looked like a DIY high-concept school musical project. She opened in a yellow and turquoise flowery top with exaggerated, purple stringy shoulders—and depending on your style sensibilities, everything that followed was just as awesome (or awful). Still, she does her—and wears everything with pride.
Jay-Z was there.
Jay-Z is one of the most present music executives, especially considering that he’s an artist first. Whenever a friend or an artist of his is in New York City, chances are he’ll show up to check them out and show support. Weeks ago he took in The-Dream S.O.B’s concert and not long after he was spotted at Melanie Fiona’s album release. (Like Fiona, Santigold is managed by Roc Nation.)
Right before Santi hit the stage, Jay slipped in through the ballroom’s back door—in a black fitted cap and sparkling necklace—and made his way up to the balcony to enjoy the show. “Jay, you in the house?” she inquired before performing “Brooklyn (Go Hard).” Jay had to skip the conclusion of the New York Knicks’ playoff game against the Miami Heat to catch her set. “I'm sorry I made you miss the game,” Santi added. “Did [the Knicks] even win?” (Did she even have to ask?) "Shit," she responded.
Beyoncé was there, too.
Jay-Z is known as “the cool one” in the couple, always out and about, hanging at cool but low-key functions. But Queen B gets around, too. Not long after President Carter showed up, she came through wearing a big black hat and sunglasses (celebs that big get a pass on the indoor shades look). When her secret service style guards cleared the way, Beyoncé made her way to her man’s side so they could Roc out together.
Santi’s new album sounds ill live.
“This Isn’t Our Parade” and “Freak Like Me,” both from her new Master of My Make-Believe album rung off pretty hard at Bowery last night. When they weren’t galloping around the stage as a makeshift horse, her band sounded crispy. And her beautiful (also, bootyful) dancers put in major work as usual, doing handstands, and popping their backsides to the rhythm.
A fan’s iPhone saved Santi’s encore.
When Santi returned to the stage to perform “You’ll Find a Way,” she quickly realized that the song would sound even better if she remembered the words. Fortunately a helpful fan in the front row Googled the lyrics on her iPhone and handed it to her.
After peeking at the screen during her performance, Santi said gave it back and said, “Thanks so much for iPhones. You saved the day.” Somewhere Steve Jobs is smiling.