Belasco Theater


M.I.A. has been, well, missing in action for the past few years. Sure, there was her middle finger (in tribute to a Hindu goddess?) during 2012's Super Bowl halftime show, and got involved in a nasty custody dispute with her child's father.

Her just-released latest album, Matangi, is an energetic, rebellious work much like her acclaimed earlier offerings, Kala and Arular. During the first of two shows at the Belasco Theater last night, she pleased the crowd with a set filled mostly with new tracks and fan favorites spanning her discography.

She strutted onstage adorned in coral and gold and waving a fan. She struck a pose under the spotlight while the intro from her album ///Y/, “The Message,” flowed into “The World,” from her 2010 mixtape, Vicki Leekx. She grabbed the microphone and threw the stand to the back of the stage. While performing her single, “Bring The Noize,” dancers ran onstage, which M.I.A. basically used as props, gyrating and grinding on them.

Credit: Katrina Nattress

Credit: Katrina Nattress

She changed from heels into sneakers for prime twerking efficiency, getting low and pretending to shoot off machine gun rounds.

Even though she rarely spoke to the audience, she clearly captivated them. The stage was set low and the barrier narrow so she was close to the fans. Her energy level remained high throughout the night.

During “Galang,” she climbed from the stage to the barrier, supported by a sea of hands. As she ended the first part of her set with Kala's hit, “Boyz,” she invited a few people to climb onstage and dance with her.

Although Matangi is brand new, the majority of the audience knew the songs and sang along. “World Town” went over great, as did, of course, her big hit “Paper Planes.”

M.I.A. is back, and, despite whatever's happening in her personal life, as strong as ever.

The Crowd: People including someone in a pizza sweatshirt

Overheard in the Crowd: While waiting for her to come onstage, people chanted “Om.”

Random Notebook Dump: Where do I sign up to be one of her backup dancers?

Set List Below:

The Message

The World


Bamboo Banga


Pull The People Up




Double Trouble Bubble

Come Walk With Me

Bucky Done Gun

Bird Flu

World Town


Bangra Bina

Paper Planes

Bad Girls


Follow us on Twitter @LAWeeklyMusic and @KatrinaNattress, and like us at LAWeeklyMusic.

LA Weekly