If you have not already guessed, I am currently in Austin, my future home for university. The weather is flawless, although a bit on the hot side. The trees are the best part. They arch over the street like nature's own street tunnel.
With the heat as the sole exception, the M.I.A. show was in stark contrast to the beauty surrounding 45th and Duvall.
My friends Lauren and Julianne, along with my brother, arrived at La Zona Rosa for the show around 7:25 or so, expecting the crowd to feel like a sold-out show. It didn't. The crowd was kind of noobish, really, like the Glow in the Dark crowd. Where my hardcore peeps at? Do they even exist anymore?!?
No matter. I slipped my card into the ATM for some money (R2D2 has nothing on the money-printing pimp that is the La Zona Rosa ATM) for a tee, only to realize M.I.A.'s shirts were $30.00. I thought she was a Sri Lankan refugee, not Laura Hutton at Barney's. Suffice it to say I skipped out on the "How Many How Many" tee...it was hard...
Holy F*** (a name I will never print--it isn't creative, only a combination of two controversial words into one gross band title) started the show off decently. I'm not into instrumental-only music, which was exactly what HF was. Around the 30 minute mark my mild interest became dislike. I was just bored and hot and sweaty and surrounded by second-hand seed. As Bo would say, "It was nast." (note the missing "y")
Around 8:30 or so HF left the stage. We waited in torturous conditions for over an hour until M.I.A. finally came on stage, and I have a right to call that heat torturous. I've been to two Austin City Limits, more concerts and shows than I can count, and nothing compared to that stifling heat and sweaty body proximity. Once the show started, I found out for like twenty minutes I had been grinding the behind of a dude. Nothing against dudes grinding each other at an M.I.A. show, but the realization was just a little disarming when I thought it was a red-headed UT freshman female I had met earlier.
There weren't any highlights of her show, per se, because it all blended into one big Brazillian dance hall frenzy. It was a blast, yes, but I wanted to see M.I.A., and I can't remember a single moment when I felt, "Yes, I've connected and I get it." More than anything, I remember what she didn't perform. No "Jimmy." No "Bucky Done Gun." No "Hustle." No "Comes Around." No "The Turn." No "Hombre." Not singing Jimmy was the most egregious fault--that was actually a moderate hit on some radio stations.
"Galang" was the best song of the night, with the booming base and tribal singing. She knows how to get the crowd going, for sure, but she caters to the front row of around fifteen people the entire time, ignoring the fans who would rather preserve their self-respect and not shove little girls and midgets out of the way to get to the front of the stage.
I'm not kidding, either: some of these "fans" literally shoved past a little Hispanic midget sitting next to me.
Overall, I was satisfied in knowing I have visually seen M.I.A. But for the rest of my senses, I felt a sweaty fatty in front of me, I heard a muffled warbling of bass and gunshots, I tasted my own salty sweat all night, and I smelled pot in all directions.
M.I.A. was better at ACL. But hey, it was $30.00 and I can now say I lived that scene in the Matrix, in the S&M dance club, when everybody is humping each other regardless of race, gender, orientation, or political affiliation (although I'm sure this crowd was of the Ron Paul-ilk). Just switch the black leather for pink and yellow linen and you've got the M.I.A. show.