If you’ve been racking your brain for a reason to cross the Bay Bridge look no further….. Uptown Oakland with its up and coming bar scene, top-notch restaurants and historical music venue is reason enough. I made my second trip to Uptown Oakland this past Wednesday to see Santigold at The Fox Theater, an historical Art Deco venue. With influences from everything from reggae, indie rock, punk and electro, Santigold’s music is on an entirely different spectrum from the classical music performances that I usually see in the city. Unlike the put together, polite audiences that you experience at Herbst Theater, Santigold’s performance at The Fox was instead an interactive experience with concert goers dressed in a uniform of neon, sequins and tattoos. Santigold has become a regular fixture at the music festivals that have helped define my generation such as Coachella in Indio and Lollapalooza in Chicago. When I heard she was going to be performing at one of my favorite venues in the Bay Area, I considered that reason enough to ditch my painting class, hop on the Bart and head over to the East Side.
After getting our required pre-concert grub of greasy tacos and Pacificos, my roommate and I started our great ascent to the tippy top of the building to find our budget friendly seats. Up we went to the balcony section row S, a bit of a challenge for me now that I’ve gotten very comfortable in the orchestra section at Herbst Theater and the War Memorial Opera House. The sea of white hair that has become expected for me at the classical concerts I attend was replaced by a sea of cell phones, booze and smoke. Maybe I’ve been attending one too many classical concerts and forgot how my generation listens to live music, but hey, if that security guard is okay with that girl rolling on the ground as part of her dance moves, then so am I.
As the lights dimmed and Santigold entered the stage in her glow-in-the-dark dress, every seat in the house was disregarded as the rowdy crowd got to its feet. You sing, you dance, you drink, you yell and if you’re not doing any of these things at this type of concert then the performer failed. You’re encouraged to interact with the performance, voice (or yell) your appreciation and dance when the music makes you feel like dancing. Some of the audience became part of the show as Santigold filled her stage with audience members to act as her backup dancers for a song. This type of interaction with the audience is something that you rarely experience with classical music performances. It’s fun to watch the performer feeding off of the crowd’s enjoyment. I admit, some nights I’m in the mood for the more meditative experience with live classical music, but last night, I found my own groove on the other side of the Bay.