Hussel Hussel Hussel

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Even though M.I.A.’s latest release Kala has been out for half a year, she still managed to sell out new venue Terminal 5. Bwog staffer Lucy Tang treks to the boondocks of midtown and finds that some artists are worth a 2-hour wait.

M.I.A. makes me feel less of a woman. Artist, singer, dancer, political activist, “refugee”–why are people still reading about Britney Spears and Lauren Conrad in Us Weekly? That being said, few artists can redeem themselves after the crowd seems ripe for riot, but M.I.A. thrives on that sort of tension.

Last night at Terminal 5, doors opened at 7 PM, M.I.A. went on at 10:45. Though many people have voiced complaints about Terminal 5’s awkward set-up, the only thing that caught my attention was the smell of wet paint permeating the entire venue, but it was soon covered up by the marijuana smell wafting about. After 9, the crowd grew more and more antsy. They didn’t pay $25 to see a DJ mash up T.I. for three hours, and began to boo the DJ and hype-man who failed to realize that the catchphrase “Whoop there it is!” should remain in the early 90’s.

However, M.I.A. was certainly worth the wait. She walked out in a ball of light, or maybe that was just the light reflecting off her sequined jacket and dress. Despite being wasted, (“I am sooo sorry I took sooo long… There was sooo much champagne.”), the girl put on a show. Regardless of your opinions towards her music or political agenda, it’s impossible to discount her as a performer.

The crowd, at least near the stage, was literally a glob of writhing bodies and sweat. Though the tight quarters prevented people from going crazy, the arms were waving and the bodies grooving. Needless to say, it’s hard enough to cross your arms and bob your head while listening to M.I.A, but live, her energy was infectious. In a move reminiscent of Girl Talk, M.I.A. invited the audience on stage with her. An extreme mish-mash of people flooded the stage–metallic leggings, low-cut tank tops, button-down shirts–and proceed to give it their all. She also joined the masses again during “$20” by crowd-surfing; the number of people that rushed to touch her was an actual exodus from one side of the stage to the other.

During one song (perhaps “Paper Planes”?), M.I.A. asked for the houselights to be turned off so the audience could light the venue with their cell phones, cameras, or lighters. It was ironic to see people eagerly waving around their Blackberry’s and iPhone’s to a song about third world inequality. Only at a M.I.A. show could capitalism and revolution co-exist happily. M.I.A. has a long way to go before her fans actually realize that her political agenda is more than just cool animation clips flashing in the background of her performances.




Tonight M.I.A. performs at Terminal 5 again with opener The Cool Kids.

(All photos by trotornot)

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  1. alexw  

    Lucy is on point in her review.

    One thing to note is that MIA made the bad choice of asking for "a few boys" to come up on stage before "Bird Flu." What she got was no fewer than 200 people awkwardly dancing on stage and then milling about after the song was over.

    Also, she couldn't hit the notes in the chorus of "Sunshowers" and had her backup lady do the hard work for her.

  2. ugh

    "literally a glob of writhing bodies and sweat"

    "an actual exodus from one side of the stage to the other"

    please, just shoot me in the face.

  3. LUCY  


  4. pulitzer  

    awesome job stealing that photo of the crowd.

  5. huh  

    You're aware that the chorus of "Sunshowers" samples an older song, right?

    So you shouldn't really expect her to hit those notes, because she never did.

  6. good review  

    I quite liked this review even though I think MIA's "political" message is totally fake. Good work Tang! Love ya

  7. Sadia  

    Friday's show was AMAZING, for the record. She came on at 10 pm following similar impatience from the crowd, but then she rocked it.

  8. in what sense  

    has KALA "been out for half a year"? it came out in August.

  9. how was the intro

    not mentioned? You know, the dictator-type guy on the video who wanted to "tear everything down?"I personally thought it was a pretty surreal yet hilarious intro. Or maybe I am just a fan who can't see beyond the cool clips in the background.

  10. tru dat  

    dude that guy was insaaaane
    he allllmost made up for the three hour wait

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