M.I.A. / Knitting Factory / Feb. 5, 2005
No doubt about it: she was lip-synching. I was standing way up front, pushed against the side wall, so just about the only thing I could see was her mouth. Do I care? Not at all. (Do I care that Ashlee Simpson lip-syncs? Nope.) When a lady is rocking a blue-and-gold loose-fitting shirt/pants combo that my grandmother would wear, and she is rhyming about text-messaging and imperialism, I am happy no matter what. Even if I am surrounded by people with all sorts of cameras blocking my view, and I have stood around waiting for an hour and a half in sardine-like conditions, and my digestive system is in a state of rebellion, and I am falling-over tired from staying up all night writing about Keane. When M.I.A. says put your hands up, you put your hands up.
It took her a little while to warm up, but once she got into it (around the time of the costume change into a neon yellow and pink combo that would have looked good on a Jem doll), she was sweating charisma. It would be hard to fuck up over those ridonculous beats, but still, she looked so happy up there, it was contagious. The crowd seemed genuinely into it, too. Not all “I’m here because I’m supposed to be here.” Except for this little kid in the balcony, who looked like he was about 8 years old and wanted to go to sleep.
On the subway ride home, this guy Tony told me that he had been standing next to an overweight middle-aged couple near the front of the stage, and the woman gave the man a blow job in the middle of the concert. I think that is a bigger and better endorsement of M.I.A. than anything anybody could ever write about her.
Speaking of which: here is a list of all the critics/bloggers I spotted/hung out with at the show (because I know you people care): Matthew Perpetua, Sasha Frere-Jones, Julianne Shepherd, Jon Caramanica, Elliot Aronow, Tricia Romano, Nick Sylvester, Maura Johnston, Sia Michel, J. Edward Keyes, Simon Reynolds, Jessica Hopper, John Seroff, Jesse Fox Mayshark, Shirley Beans, Kelefa Sanneh, Mike Barthel. And
P.S. Caryn and I were supposed to do an IM review of this, but she fell asleep while I was herding people out of my apartment after my Super Bowl party.
P.P.S. Fuck the Patriots.