before i was a music journalist and a blogger, i was a music fan (as i continue to be).
thankfully, getting myself in to review gigs is an inexpensive way to indulge my passion, but last week i actually went to two gigs that i had to pay for, deciding that i couldn't just take the chance that an opportunity to get on the respective guestlists would arise.
first up was M.I.A, who i had been desperate to see touring her new album after catching her rare London appearances whenever possible over the past 6 years.
i shouldn't have bothered.
/\/\/\Y/\ is a heavy, broodding beast of an album that warrants being played at high volumes in order to become fully immersed in the dense urban beats and leftfield sound effects, and in theory should have birthed a riotous live show.
but instead i ended up shelling out for a gig where for the most part the vocals were barely audible, the setlist choice left alot to be desired, and i think M.I.A, despite being at the gig in body, was hardly there in spirit.
i don't know where to lay the blame, but things have changed, perhaps motherhood has sapped the chaotic energy she was renowned for, perhaps her family ties to the CEO of Warner Music has made life too comfortable, perhaps it was the crossover success of Paper Planes and the new fans it garnered that changed the gig's dynamics, or perhaps it was just a bad night
all i know is that it didn't feel like i was witnessing the same person on that stage that i had seen before
it would be an easy assumption to blame it on the venue, M.I.A works far better in a more intimate environment, fuelling the fantasy that you've joined her for a genre splitting underground rave as i've encountered first hand at the ICA and at Fabric, nowhere was this more obvious than with the rather desperate looking stage invasion that the security had quite clearly been briefed to allow (and even lend a hand) but simply resulted in a small gathering of people poncing around onstage which quite frankly looked embarrassing.
i still class myself as an M.I.A fan, i'll try not to let this one incident ruin the memory of far happier times we have shared together, i must admit tho, that the experiences have been tainted.
but when you are being outshone by your own faltering and awkward Ginger B-Boy, M.I.A must realise that things haven't been going great recently.
M.I.A - Steppin Up