VAIL, Colorado - There is no easy category in which to place Santigold's sound. It's pop, rock, hip-hop, reggae and tribal beats in one throbbing mass of succinctly executed energy. The sheer gusto and stage presence at a Santigold performance also defy definition.
In any given live show, front woman Santi White, her rock band and two SG1 dancers can be found leaping from one corner to the other, striking poses to African beats, shimmying to crazy Irish step dances (minus the Irish folk music), simulating James Brown's gold cape moves and even bringing a horse on stage for some four-legged hiphop.
There is no question Santigold has landed on quite a few radars since last playing the Burton U.S. Open, but Saturday will mark the New York-based artist's inaugural stop in Vail. And you'd better believe she's planning on hitting the slopes while she's in town.
"I'm excited to perform at the Burton U.S. Open again, and hopefully to get in a quick run or two while I'm out there. I haven't had a chance to snowboard yet all winter," White said.
Hailing from Philadelphia, after making the switch from a career as a record company representative to that of musician and producer, White moved to Brooklyn and set out to shake up the stereotype of what the music industry usually expects from the female African American talent pool.
You might think the world of snowboarding is another universe to Santigold. It's not. White's husband, Trevor "Trouble" Andrews, is a former Olympic snowboarder, fellow musician and a fashion designer and his band has also performed at the U.S. Open.
"He was on the Burton team at that time and he was in the scene," said Burton Events Manager Ian Warda. "With the whole Burton family, Santi has always been close to us. She really feels like family. It was 2007 or 2008 when we booked her originally. She was new on the music scene then and not a lot of people had heard her. She put her debut album out shortly after that and gained popularity. With her second album, she's blown up and we're excited to showcase her to a larger crowd."
Larger crowds are now par for the course for Santigold. She released her first self-titled album ('Santogold' - her former stage name before a copyright dilemma caused her to change to Santigold) in 2008 and immediately made an impression, making Rolling Stone and Spin magazine's lists for the year's best albums and touring in support of Jay-Z, Kanye West and her friends, the Beastie Boys.
Last April she followed up with her much-anticipated second album, "Master of My Make-Believe," which has been getting regular commercial radio time, has landed her several artist features on NPR, MTV and Spin. She has now reached a point where she routinely sells out every live show she plays throughout the United States, including her previous most recent stop in Colorado at Denver's Ogden Theater last summer.
Most recently Santigold released "Girls," the lead song on the official soundtrack of Lena Dunham's Golden Globe-winning new HBO TV series bearing the same name.
"Her show is amazing - her incredible vocals, the choreography and dancing ... it's amazing," Warda says. "When we go to book the entertainment for these events, we just look for a fun show and we like to have a different dynamic. This year was focused on trying to program up-and-coming artists who are hot and on top of the time. Macklemore and Santi are both getting so much momentum now. She appeals to a broad audience and her music resonates with a ton of people. She really transcends different genres. With all the different concerts Vail has done over the years, we wanted to take a different approach and get more young energy."
Energy is an understatement when it comes to a Santigold show. She typically starts off with a dramatic march onto the stage wearing a gold cape, collapsing into the arms of her SG1 dancers, who change outfits several times during the show and leap through all of their professional and eclectic dance moves wearing dark shades and never cracking their poker face. At some point in the show, White usually invites dozens of the audience onto the stage to dance.
In short, Santigold's show is likely to upstage the snowboarding halfpipe finals earlier on Saturday. Burton's Facebook page announcing Saturday's free show is teaming with fans planning to go, so getting there early might not be a bad idea. It's outside, so bring your mittens.