photo by Renee McMahon. Click here for the photo slideshow.
Where: Showbox Sodo
When: Friday, Nov. 16, 2007.
Better than: Paying for a trip around the world.
The first and only time I saw M.I.A. perform was two years ago, not long after her debut Arular was released on XL Recordings and she was just getting her feet wet performing. Because of her relative inexperience, her set suffered: her DJ kept fucking up, and her back-up singer/dancer/hype woman Miss Cherry made up for M.I.A.'s very awkward/distant stage presence. But that was then.
After a very long interval between The Cool Kids opening set, the stage lights went down and M.I.A.'s DJ on this tour, Low Budget of Hollertronix, was the first to appear in front of the pixelated animated black and white backdrop before Miss Cherry, dressed in a tight white workout out top and hot pants, and the fabulously fresh and flashy M.I.A. finally made it in front of the enthusiastic at-capacity audience and got right into it. The crowd was ready.
Much of M.I.A.'s latest, Kala, was covered, from "XR2" and "$20" to "Jimmy" and "Paper Planes." The entire set was riddled with ricocheting fake gun shots like it was a Clipse show, and the heavy bass tickled my nose hairs and reverberated through my body. M.I.A. moved around the stage like a little lynx, and hands reached out to touch her. At one point, she invited what seemed like 20-30 women on stage, bringing the level of the night's crowd excitement/staff nightmare to Stooges proportions. Pull Up the People, indeed.
Before we got to the venue, photographer Renee McMahon asked me who was opening. I had no idea, and said "oh, probably some cool kids." Turns out, the openers were called The Cool Kids. How 'bout that?!
Personal Bias: Play Piracy Funds Terrorism Volume 1 at a party and watch people go nuts on the dancefloor!