If Bjork is a panda, M.I.A. is an iguana. Or komodo dragon. Or a gila monster or some kind of crazy looking, beautiful exotic lizard that moves awkwardly but with more grace than you can fathom with their bony adorable body.
Halloween night at Center Stage in Atlanta was alive. From before it even began, the space was filled with rainbows of costumes, underwear over fishnets, and more wigs and leg warmers than you’d find in Cyndi Lauper’s closet circa 1983. Girls were dancing on top of speakers; friends were greeting each other with hugs that spun each other around. (What an amazing contrast to the previous night’s snooze of a crowd. I'm just sayin'.)
The show opened up with video footage of Japanese nihilist Kouichi Touyama in his bout for Governor of Tokyo- a perfect way to kick off the show of the daughter of a Tamil activist-turned militant. This revolutionary spirit carried through the entire evening, no doubt due in some part to her extensive travels in India, Trinidad, Liberia, Jamaica, Australia, and Japan while she was writing her new album Kala.
That’s the best word: revolutionary. MIA is revolutionary. She is one of, if not the most fierce performer I’ve ever seen. In iridescent white stretch pants and a baggy t-shirt, she, her DJ and the woman who danced and sung back up (so sad I don’t know her name) commanded the stage. The energy flowed from their lips hips fingertips to the crowd infectiously. Eyes remained glued on the small bodies that glided across the stage. Every song was a journey -- sometimes intentional “now we’re going to Africa!” she cried jubilantly as the screen behind her turned to jungle and machine guns. At one point she invited all people wearing costumes to join her on stage for a dance party (pictures on this are included in the slideshow- click on the image to go to a larger size). She perched on the edge of the stage singing and became part of the fan-based MIAnimal that moved with her.
I'm including two videos in this one this time because I just have to share them. I didn’t want the show to end; hell I want to be back there right now. As MIA said in Sunshowers, 'like PLO I don’t surrendo' and she didn’t and she doesn’t and I can’t emphasize enough that if you have a chance to see this lovely British Sri Lankan imp in real life, go go GO!
And if you were there, tell me how much she blew your ass away. Please. Take me back there immediately.
Performing Pull Up the People: you no like the people they no like you, then they go set it off with a big boom, every gun in a battle is a son and daughter too, why you wanna talk about who done who? what you wanna talk about?
Performing Bucky Done Gun. Despite the arm constantly blocking my camera, the crowd footage on this one makes it all worthwhile. Everyone loved her!