Santigold, Amanda Blank and Trouble Andrew Break It Down at Terminal 5

Nell Alk

What do you get when you combine killer lyricists, amazing musicians and an adoring crowd worthy of such a show? A winning concoction, that’s what. That’s precisely what last night’s Terminal 5 lineup was all about, fusing three remarkable artists under one roof for a densely concentrated, talent-packed performance, brimming with a well-mannered and appreciative audience. Concertgoers know they're in for something special when Santigold’s on the bill, but, unfortunately, most music-lovers are not yet hip to the tune that is Trouble Andrew. Santi’s fiancée, but a standalone superstar in his own right, he and his gang are an absolute must-see. Fortunately, fans of our leading lady were in for a delicious surprise, with two rock-solid openers, both her soon-to-be hubby and Amanda Blank, not to mention special guests Spank Rock and Jofo.

The night began when former Olympic snowboarder Trouble Andrew took to the stage. Famous for his moves on the mountain, now he rocks the mic, turning out track after addictive track. His bandmates Masa (bass), Joao (guitar) and Ian (drums) entered the stage in anticipation of Trouble (Trevor), accompanied by a dude donning a gigantic skull head disguise. His shirt read “security,” but his oversized green sunglasses left me laughing at the irony of it all. He’s a regular at Trouble shows, though, and so deserves a modicum of respect. He certainly made his presence felt during their third song, “Chase Money,” as he “made it rain,” so-to-speak, tossing bills in the air from his stage-right stance. During the last song, a new number to appear on the forthcoming album due out in January 2010 (EMI), he played catch-the-cash again, whilst “smoking” a cigar.

Trouble strolled out sporting his signature Oakleys and Frank’s Chop Shop custom cap, not to mention his ever-recognizable patched jean-jacket. He also donned an anti-swastika tee. That was something new. As always, Trouble was off his tits as were his second-in-commands. Masa manned the keys (upon which was perched a red siren light that spun the entire time) in addition to breaking down the bass, all the while wearing a scarf knotted on his head. It’s no ninja mask, though, as he wore during an act back in February 2008 at New York’s former Knitting Factory. Joao was active as usual, hoisting his foot on the speakers beneath his feet and rocking his torso forward and backward, really getting into the music. He also commanded this mini red keyboard that at times hung from a strap around his neck. Ian drummed his heart out and made stink faces from his percussion perch in back and Trouble moved to and fro so much that it proved difficult to capture a still shot! All in the name of an excellent entry to the evening. Canada-based Jofo made a cameo during the last two of the eight songs, before they all exited together, making way for the next sensation.

Amanda was up but I didn’t catch her entrance due to an interview with Trev backstage. I saw the second half of her set and felt as though that was enough. The girl’s got gusto, pacing the stage and rapping up a storm, her producer Diplo turning tables behind her with his DJ mate beside him. She adorned herself in an attention-getting getup; of note were her black spandex pants strung with light Christmas lights. Interesting touch. Another fun feature was Spank Rock’s contribution, skipping out in his nerd-glasses and skinny jeans. A soft-spoken and modest man to encounter offstage, when he escapes the one-on-one and takes on a floor-to-ceiling fan-fest this guy lets loose!

Last but not least, after some major down time, Santigold made her way out. By now it was past ten and the hoards of devotees were ready for the main course. Santi put on a stellar show that began with a tech guy tossing a tumbleweed-type prop onto the stage. She sauntered out, boasting gold (are you surprised?) head-to-toe, from her eyelids to her pint-sized butler jacket and slacks to her winged kicks. She stood flanked by two dancers, also adorned in gold cropped coats atop white blouses, black MC Hammer pants and sparkly gold Ked-esque shoes. Her backup band also dressed the part.

Crazy fashion looks aside, her set was off tap, more akin to platinum than gold if you ask me (Santiplatinum, perhaps? Hmm…). She was so sweet too, relaying that “This is the show we were looking forward to most on tour” and referring to us as her “New York friends and family.” During “Unstoppable” she shouted “You guys are the most unstoppable!” It was truly lovely to hear from her, with her great big ear-to-ear grin. Forget her beautiful face for a moment, her dance moves are ridic, subtle but effective maneuvers that make guys weak in the knees and girls head home to practice their side-step in front of the mirror. That’s what I did anyway. (I’m getting pretty good.)

Santiplatinum, err, I mean Santigold sang roughly 15 songs, maybe more. Amanda joined her for a couple, this time scantily clad in booty shorts. Ow ow. Spank Rock got in on “Shove It” and Trouble lent a line or two for “I’m a Lady.” He’d hate me saying this but, damn, they’re adorable. Perhaps most memorable was the encore, during which she not only sang my two tops (“Superman” and “Starstruck”), but also invited dance-savvy audience members to come up and shake their thang during “Creator.” The scene was unbelievable and downright hilarious. All nine non-professional additions gave it their all, romping around and simply stoked to be up there. Most notable? Hannah Rad, editor of music blog, stole our stage-side hearts. Perhaps that’s because she herself is a legit backup dancer and has in the past worked with the likes of Janet Jackson and Missy Elliott.

All in all was a solid show and I think few people would dispute that, odd props and all. Just ask Lil Jon who sat in the balcony, peering down and supporting his fellow music-makers.

Photos Pearse Daly

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