If there was one transformative performance at this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, I'd say it was Santogold's Friday night statement-of-purpose. The festival, which wrapped up last night with a Pink Floyd flashback courtesy of Roger Waters and a furious day-long Sahara tent throwdown with highlight sets by Booka Shade, Modeselektor and Simian Mobile Disco (who used to annoy me, but when they dropped Plastikman's “Spastik” rhythm halfway through their set, I forgave them all their lighter-than-air sins), contained multitudes, but it was Brooklyn's Santogold (born Santi White), who concentrated all the sounds into one sparse, beautiful essence.
It was the songs, of course, and Santogold's wide-ranging tastes and influences, that shone brightest. But her two dancers sealed the deal. Dressed in identical black pants, white sleeveless blouses and checkered sunglasses, they danced like Public Enemy's troupe/security detail, the S-1Ws, as choreographed by Bob Fosse. They moved, but in fits and starts with the rhythm. There was motion, but there was just as much non-motion. It was funky. It was fresh. It was a dance I'd like to learn (yeah, right).