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Friday, October 19, 2007

CMJ Report: M.I.A.

M.I.A.'s show at the brand new Terminal 5 was clearly the highlight of the CMJ Music Marathon this week. OMG!!!!!!!!!! It feels almost unfair to even review it, as the entire show was so full of energy, so completely entertaining...just wow!!! (By the way, this post officially marks the end of horrible photography on this site, new camera! Yeah!)

Firstly, Terminal 5, NY's new premiere Bowery Presents venue is so over the top - three levels, with bars and bathrooms on each one, the place is reminiscent of the bar in the 80's film 'Cocktail', you know when Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown are hitting it big time and land a gig at the hottest club in Manhattan. But, as big as this place is, the house was packed. When M.I.A. finally took the stage after 10:30, following an uproar of boos and violent shouts, people were scrambling around everywhere, trying to land a spot with an actual view of the stage.

But once she did take the stage all was forgiven. She opened with 'Bamboo Banga', the opener to her phenomenal new album "Kala". The temperature rose and the songs were tight, tight, tight, equally blending the set with tracks from "Kala" and her auspicious debut "Arular". The crowd was treated to freaked-out versions of 'Pull Up the People', 'Sunshowers', 'XR2', and the amazing '20 Dollar' which morphed into New Order's 'Blue Monday', before breaking anarchically into the current single 'Jimmy'. Mindblowing!

But the party had only just gotten started. Watch the video below of the "Arular" hit 'Bucky Done Gun', which preceded the crowd-shattering 'Boyz', wherein Miss Maya brought half the crowd onto the stage and the show was nearly shut down. This shit was outta control, yet somehow it was all held together magnificently by the enigmatic M.I.A. And lucky for us, the show went on. We were blessed with her best songs from there on out - the song of the year 'Paper Planes' and the hit that made her famous back in '05, 'Galang'.

I caught M.I.A. at Coachella a couple years ago and back then she was great. Now, she is a virtuoso - at once, staggeringly vital and wildy entertaining. Artist of the year for sure.

M.I.A. - Bucky Done Gun (live at Terminal 5, NYC 10/18/07)

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