Eugene Weekly : Music : 5.21.09

Santigold and the Weirdest Bill Ever
A taste of Sasquatch comes to the Cuthbert
by Sarah Brickner

Putting Santigold on the same bill with the prince of jam, Michael Franti, makes about as much sense as a show featuring Lil Wayne and James Taylor. It’s hard to imagine there’s any fan overlap at all. But then again, this show is basically a mini-Sasquatch, most likely born of circumstance — Santigold and BLK JKS were gonna be rolling through town en route to Sasquatch, and Franti probably said, “Aw, shucks, guys. You can all just come and play with me at my show!” (Even people who loathe Franti’s music have to admit he seems like a pretty decent human being.) Franti should be sympathetic, since he’s played Sasquatch almost every year since the inception of the fest. While neither he nor reggae band SOJA (Sons of Jah Army) are on the roster this time (Franti’s playing Bumbershoot instead), both Santigold and BLK JKS appear at Sasquatch on Monday. Otherwise, you’d never see a bill this eclectic. BLK JKS play Interpol-esque indie rock that hints at the band’s African origins while Santigold’s synthy sound comes off like collaboration between M.I.A. and Blondie. Then again, Santi White, aka Santigold, has called reggae music an influence, too, even if it doesn’t always come across in her music. 

White’s only put out one album so far, a self-titled record that dropped last year when Santigold was still Santogold (she had to change her name after a jewelry company, Santo Gold, threatened legal action) but she’s poised to be pop music next big thing; she’s not only collaborated with international artists from Lily Allen to Kanye West but has toured with huge acts from Bjork to stylistically similar powerhouse M.I.A. By all rights, Franti should be opening for her. Then again, it’s not so bad that Santigold’s fans won’t have to sit through Franti first. Whether or not a single soul in the house will remain for the entire show is anybody’s guess, but bringing a taste of Sasquatch to Eugene can only be a good thing. Because seriously: Who can afford it this year?

Michael Franti and Spearhead, Santigold, SOJA and BLK JKS. 5 pm Sunday, May 24. Cuthbert Amphitheater. $35 adv., $40 door