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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Catching Up on Day One: M.I.A.

posted by on May 25 at 14:24 PM

I missed Beirut, the band I was most looking forward to seeing at Sasquatch. We left Seattle later than we should’ve, we stopped for food, and, finally, checking into our campsite was a clusterfuck of well-meaning but poorly coordinated event staffówe had to wait in a massive line of cars to get misdirected twice and then finally sent back to the front of the line from whence we’d came. Whatever. The weekend goes on, (although it goes on without a stable internet connection until about an hour ago; hopefully you’re all outside this weekend anyway).

MIAphoto by Christopher Nelson

Also high on my list of acts to catch: M.I.A. Maya Arulpragasam and crew did not disappoint. Seeing a sea of kids, hands up, guns out for “World Town” was pretty impressive. Massive. Seeing them all form guns for the gunshot blast beats was just absurd. There was some serious airhorn action happening onstage.

“Soundman turn me up out there. We’re gonna pretend we’re at Glastonbury, 1992, and everybody’s on ecstacy.” Into “XR2.”

Her backup dancers were decked out in red and yellow, the girl with a bright red bob wig, looking a little like Ronald McDonald clowns; appropriately, her awesome guy backup dancer was practically krumping.

Watched some red faced, cussing, blond and tousle-haired teen get wrestled and pinned by a handful of security guardsóit may have been during “Pull Up the People,” or I might just be remembering it that way.

For “Sunshower,” the video screens played a super cute video of Arulpragasam. cut and pasted into a pixelated jungle background, cooly banging on a drum kit in clipped little video loops. During one point, she shouted, “Africa! Sasquatch!” Non sequiter globalism for real.

For “$20,” she sat on a speaker to deliver the stoned, stretched opening verse. “Bucky Done Gun” featured an extended horn and gunshot intro.

There was a kid with a too fresh NKOTB hatóhot pink on black and signed by all the boys.

Two guys in big, furry bird suitsóone penguin, one parrotówent a little nuts for “Birdflu,” pogoing in their plush gear to the chicken scratch beat. They started literally pulling up the people, then, filling the stage, at first with a few brave kids and hippies, but soon with a massive mob, with Arulpragasam and her backup at the fore, just at the lip of the stage, a push of people behind them. A girl was dancing on the amp where Maya had been a song or two ago.

“Where are you,” Arulpragasam called out to her hype girl at one point.
“I’m right here!”

They played the massive jam, “Boys,” and then asked the crowd to leave the stage.
“Exit the stage now. Thanks for partying with us.”

Low Bee started playing “Galang” as the crowd walked off. A puff of smoke rose from near the DJ table. One kid did “the worm” offstage; he may be the coolest kids I saw all day.

“If you got any kind of lightócameras, phones, lightersóhold them up.”

“Paper Planes,” as expected, sounded awesome, all it was missing was sunshine instead of overcast sky. On the video screen, Arulpragasam was wielding a guitar as a gun, pixelated blasts coming out it’s head, then she was surfing on a neon paper plane, past Mario Bros clouds, occasionally still shooting or drumming. That Clash riff is fucking bottomless.

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yep, mia killed it. out of control. she owned the place, more than anyone else on saturday (like bjork did last year). and beirut wins for second-best of the day. saturday was great overall--the rain in the evening was a bummer, but for the most part, the weather was perfect and the music was solid.

Posted by traeden | May 25, 2008 2:35 PM

She is so HOTT!!! I wish I paid the for the VIP seating so I could have been up there to shake my stuff! Her performance did have to most energy of anyone there that day.

Posted by H | May 27, 2008 12:12 PM

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