This Saturday was my third time seeing M.I.A. The Rickshaw Stop is a tiny venue, especially after seeing her at the Independent, and the slightly larger Grand Regency a year or so ago.
1. After this show, I'm slightly more excited about her new album Kala. The songs and videos floating around right now, "Boys," "XR2" and "Bird Flu," haven't impressed me. A little too tribal for my liking. But the new songs she played live were really incredible. I liked the first of the batch, and this one big pop/club track that sounded like a companion piece to "10 Dollar."
2. She looked a bit more focused and serious. There wasn't that fun, crazy, neon explosion of the first album promo tour. Maybe it's because she's testing out the new material for a bigger tour? Maybe it's her shorter hair cut? Or the "DARFUR" t-shirt, or the military headwear? She's becoming a pop star .. and sticking to her guns, so to speak. It's very exciting to see.
3. The show was very loud. My ears are still ringing, and I truly regret not bringing plugs. I had a similarly loud experience when I saw Clinic earlier in the year. Apparently, I didn't learn my lesson.
4. She was more on-time than usual. The show started at 9 p.m. and she was on by 11:30 (one opener, and a bunch of DJs). This was better than the last few shows when she was late, played short sets and pissed off a lot of people. She's been in SF since Thursday I think (she DJ'd at Popscene that night, and played a record store show earlier on Saturday .. both of which I missed). However, I read she was 3 hours late (!) at a show in Brooklyn earlier this week.
5. The audience didn't seem that into it. Lots of random people. LOTS of people taking photographs. I know she's incredibly photogenic .. but it was non-stop. It took me no time to find the photo above from last night's show on Flickr (which I very much appreciated).
Overall, I had a good time. I hope the ringing in my ear will stop. Next up: Clipse in September. Hip-hop shows are always hit or miss for me -- the audience has really gotta be there. This should be a cool show.