Last month, my boyfriend and I went to London so I could go to M.I.A’s concert at the 02 Academy in Brixton and to visit with his parents.
The morning before the concert, I woke up (kind of) early to take pictures of some new aprons for my shop! We figured since Rob’s parents have a big back yard, it’d be perfect for taking pictures of them. Most of the time I have to struggle to take pictures in front of the windows of our apartment, and our garden is badly overgrown due to landlord neglect so I can’t really take any pictures back there. It was freezing out, but we still managed to get some great shots!
Later on, after a quick shower, I got dressed for the concert.
Unfortunately, I forgot my conditioner AND wide toothed comb at home, so my hair was frizzy as all hell, hence my sour face.
I had a lot of fun applying my make up though! Rob totally photobombed this picture, as he usually does.
M.I.A. Concert at the o2 Academy in Brixton
I took the tube from Barking to Brixton. My first job when I lived in London back in 2008 was located in Brixton, so it was incredibly weird and brought back a LOT of memories when I went back there!
For those of you unfamiliar with her, M.I.A (real name Maya Arulpragasam) is an alternative dance musician. You might know her song “Paper Planes”, because it was on some stoner movie’s soundtrack or something, but if you haven’t heard any of her OTHER music, I feel sorry for you!
Maya’s concert was not so much a concert as it was an insane party where the songs never stopped and the fans were a part of the show.
I actually showed up an hour and a half late on purpose because I didn’t know who the opening bands were and I’ll be honest, I don’t really like sitting through opening acts unless I know who they are. I guess that’s awful of me, being a musician and all, but having had terrible student bands forced on me at the o2 Academy in Bristol, I just didn’t really feel like it. Despite my efforts (hahaha), I ended up coming in halfway through Sleigh Bells’ set. They were ok, I can’t really comment on their music since it was hard to hear given the acoustics in the venue, and even harder to see them.
After they finished, I waited patiently with all her other fans for Maya to come onstage. Eventually, I spotted Maya on the side of the stage wearing her XXXO burqa!
Okay and I’m just going to comment on this real quick: I know people found her burqa “controversial” and “racist” (seriously?), but I don’t find it offensive. I have a feeling if certain other music stars had sported this outfit it would be “art”, but when Maya does it apparently it’s somehow bad. Whatever.
After standing on stage for a little while, Maya came close to the audience with a video camera and started filming us while a DJ on stage was spinning. I was really close to the front despite showing up late, so I managed to get really close to her!
The entire time she was walking back and forth across the audience, I was wondering why she was recording us. After what seemed like ages, she finally retreated. When the show started at last, I realised why: there was a huge screen on stage showing the footage that Maya had captured of the audience! It looked AMAZING and I managed to get a decent picture:
And yeah, my own face showed up there at one point. :’D
The first song she began with was the opening track from /\/\ /\ Y /\, “The Message” and I think she sang “Illygirl” briefly. When she showed up on stage, she was wearing a hoodie and a keffiyeh, so it was hard to see her. But once she launched into “Bucky Done Gun”, she took them off to reveal the most amazing outfit ever. It was a shiny, sparkly, and silvery pair of short shorts paired with a matching jacket and animal print leggings. And oh her eye make up!!! It was incredible, like Jem (of the Holograms fame), except blue. She also has short hair now, which I’ve never seen her with before, but looked great. I tried SO hard to get a picture of it, but she was moving around so much, that this was the best I could do.
But I did find this video on YouTube of her performing “Bamboo Banga” at the same show, where you can see it much better. I want to make an outfit like that!
She went on to play “World Town”, “Galang”, “Boyz” (during which the crowd went freaking crazy), “Fire Fire”, “Story to Be Told”, “Born Free”, and “It Takes a Muscle”. At some point, I think after Boyz, she and her back up dancers invited people in the audience to come on stage! I tried really hard to get on stage but I wasn’t standing close enough to the barrier.
I think the last song she played before the encore was “Born Free” (or “Steppin Up”?), but I’m not sure, I was still reeling from how insane the show was. When she came back on stage for the encore, I was praying she’d play “Hombre” since it’s my favorite song of hers, but given that it was not a single (which I still can’t believe!) I knew there was little hope.
During the encore she played “Space”, “Teqkilla”, “Illygirl” (in full this time), and ended with “Paper Planes”, of course. We all waited for her to come back for another encore, but after Paper Planes she was finished. For the first time since EVER, I actually had this feeling where I really didn’t want it to be over!
The only thing I found disappointing and surprising was that she didn’t play “XXXO”, which is the new single from her latest album, and probably the best track on /\/\ /\ Y /\ next to “Illygirl”. I think maybe she didn’t feel that it would be good live or something! But I really was waiting to hear it. Oh well!
I hope you all enjoyed the photos and let me know if you were there or at any of her other tour stops. I’d love to meet more people who recognise Maya’s genius! I’ll leave you with a video of my favourite song of hers, “Hombre”… which I’m still sad she didn’t play!