M.I.A. + Spank Rock @ Metropolis

By Trevor Kiernander - Ones and Zeroes - 09/24/2005

There isn’t much to be said about M.I.A. that hasn’t already been over-said. Yet, she's not over-hyped. The rumours and press are 110% true that M.I.A. can rock a party right, and though everyone and their sister Sally is talking about her, M.I.A. deserves all the respect she gets.

The show was transferred to Metropolis from the Spectrum; this was probably a great move considering the house was packed to the brim and I’m sure half of those people wouldn’t have fit into the original venue. I got in just a bit past nine, and caught Baltimore’s Spank Rock DJs (Chrisrockwell and XXXChange) throwing down a killer set that included some classic tracks from the 60’s such as The Small Faces, interlaced with beats and scratches to get the crowd going. Spank Rock (Naeem Juman and Alex Epton aka MC Spank Rock), took to the stage soon after and rolled out with their electro-eighties-synth-pop-hip-hop hits that are bringing them serious accolades while touring with M.I.A. Definitely a highlight, but for sure not the main event.

Of course an “it” performance wouldn’t be complete without the über hipsters that flock to every breath of the media air, filled to the brim with “rebels” dressed to the nines and keeping off to the sidelines because they don’t want to be apart of the nonsense in the middle, standing there, hair perfectly messy, collar up, hands firmly stationed in their front pockets. So cool. So sincere. So while I waited for M.I.A. to get on board, I was trying not to puke.

Sans Diplo, M.I.A. finally broke out onto the stage and the place blew up. I was happily situated in a pack of people movers, so my cynicism couldn’t get the best of me tonight! I unfortunately didn’t make her previous show with her production mate Diplo, so I have nothing to compare this show with, but what I did get to see still blew me away. The five-foot British Sri-Lankan package of political fury laid out the bomb tracks and bomb messages for the excited masses. As the old goat in an all-ages gig, I do find it refreshing to see kids out at important shows, and if they take the time to listen to what M.I.A. is preaching, maybe there is some hope in this world after all.

Along with singer Sherry and a non-Diplo DJ, M.I.A. stretched out her debut album and added a new track, much to the pleasure of everyone. I also appreciated her honesty when people were asking for more, and she explained “I’ve only got one album!” Ahhh. Sometimes I wonder if people actually hear what they are listening to. In the case of M.I.A., they should believe the hype and not just follow it. Make sure to see her next time she is town, and especially with Diplo, so I’ve been told.

[Ones And Zeroes is in a roving timeslot BUT is finally back. Check the schedule for its timeslot this week.]