There was an odd vibe, or lack thereof, at Brooklyn electro-pop diva Santigold's Perth gig on Wednesday night. The show had already been booted out of Metro City's back door, geographically speaking, to the much-smaller capacity Bakery due to modest ticket sales.
While the Artrage music hub was packed, the mood was muted as so-called fans chatted rather than clamoured for Santi White, her DJ and two backing singers/dancers to hit the low stage.
When the 36-year-old Philly-born former punk and A&R executive finally did emerge, the response barely registered as she unleashed Go!, the opening track from sophomore album, Master of My Make-Believe, released earlier this year to a similarly lukewarm response.
However, within an hour, Santigold had transformed the Bakery into a sweaty, hot mess of serious bun-wiggling. From L.E.S. Artistes, the lead single from brilliant 2008 debut Santogold, through this year's highlight Disparate Youth (with the twin dancers spinning parasols) to the rump-shaking finale of Spank Rock's B-O-O-T-A-Y, White and co. delivered a high-energy show of new wave-influenced dancehall with matching Talking Heads-meets- Beyonce dance moves.
The stage filled with punters during the off-kilter electro-ragga of Creator, White doing well to keep out of the way of overenthusiastic lunks. "Alright, we've got a party up here," she giggled, during one of her frequent interactions with the audience. The less exuberant moments worked just as well. The howling, dubstep-inflected Fame and poppy The Keepers - inspired by the US financial crisis, with the dancers performing callisthenics with briefcases - were down-tempo winners alongside the dubby Starstruck off the debut album.
The latter led into Brooklyn Go Hard, her 2008 collaboration with Jay-Z and Kanye West serving as a tribute to her home, recently "beaten up" by hurricane, flood and snowstorm. The frenetic percussion-driven Big Mouth cranked up the heat to end the main set, before the apt Unstoppable jerked the encore into gear - but only after White gave us a lesson on how to pronounce her name. It's "Sonti", not "Saantee".
However you say it, you could never call Santigold dull.