Last night night, London’s M.I.A. brought the house down at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall, overcoming the venue’s notoriously bad acoustics as she had the crowd moving their feet from the first moment.
Words: Mark E. Ortega
Photography: Farah Sosa
The crowd started a chant of “M.I.A.! M.I.A.!” as they waited patiently. Finally, the British star made her way to the stage around 10:20 p.m. Dressed in what from a distance appeared to be a track suit spray painted in gold, M.I.A.’s stage had it all. From male dancers who were losing their sh*t to a crazy light show on stage, it felt like a big EDM DJ set without the overflow of “bros”. There wasn’t pushing and shoving to get to the front but rather everyone enjoying the moment together and dancing their asses off.
One surprise was that there wasn’t that many billows of marijuana smoke filling the auditorium, which was surprising given the Shrine’s lax security. That only changed slightly when M.I.A. launched into her hit “Paper Planes”, a song that pot smokers have loved ever since Pineapple Express first came out.
M.I.A. didn’t allow the sound quality of The Shrine to impede her performance as she showed great stage presence ripping through her set. Performing many songs from her last two albums Maya and Matangi, while also performing a memorable bit from her 2010 mixtape Vicki Leekx.
“M.I.A.’s here to stay/I’ve got people on my case”; “Imitators stay away/While I’m sick they try to take/Yeah, they like what I’m eating and they want my piece of cake,” sang the star.
At one point, M.I.A. brought the first few rows of her crowd on stage during “Stage Invasions”. Of course, people went selfie crazy, but there were quite a few who were able to lose themselves in the moment.
One such excited fan was none other than fellow Brit musician Kate Nash, who I caught after the show. Nash was elated about jumping on stage and grabbing a setlist, which is ironic because at HER show at The Roxy the previous month, she brought half the crowd on stage. It could be a Brit thing, but more likely it’s just an awesome performer thing.
If her performance Thursday night is any indication, M.I.A. is definitely here to stay. Let’s just hope next time she plays LA, it is in a venue more conducive to her sound.
Check out our photos below of M.I.A. and opening set performer, Angel Haze.
Want more photos? Check out the photo gallery below!