I have been a huge fan of Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, the artist known as M.I.A., from the very beginning. I was instantly hooked to her sound upon hearing “Galang” and thought, “she’s going to be hugggeee!”. Fast forward eight years, a few album releases, a gig interning at her label, and now, in November of 2013, M.I.A. has released her fourth studio album, and I’m invited to her album release party and concert. For lack of better words, I’m happy as a clam.
The release party and show was held as part of Soho House’s “Satellite Nights” music + art series in Brooklyn’s new hipster capital of Bushwick, in a huge event space called The 1896. The attendees were super chill and well-dressed, art projections were made possible by Jose Carlos Casado, and dranks were provided by Corzo tequila. I attended the jam with my partner in musical crime Indira, and in typical Brooklyn fashion, bumped into numerous folks I know (cool ones, that I enjoy hanging out with).
We grabbed some cocktails from a super-friendly Voguing bartender, and made our way to the front to hold down our spot for the woman of the hour. The queen of ‘GhettoGothik’, Venus X, played bass heavy reggaeton/dembow/electro jams to get the crowd amped, and the dancing commenced. As the clock struck midnight, it was finally time for the lady we had all been waiting for, M.I.A.
She performed a small selection of tracks from the span of her career including new songs “Warrior” and “Bring The Noize”, and some jammie jams we came to love over the years including “Paper Planes”, “Galang”, and “Bamboo Banga”. The evening made up entirely for the last time I had seen her back in 2010, when she headlined the NYC edition of Hard Fest, and infamously threw tequila bottles off the stage during a downpour. This time around, the energy from her and the crowd matched perfectly, as she pranced across the stage in an all red get-up paired with an embellished cap.
I had a lovely evening with lovely company, and I hope to see her on tour soon for a full show!
Photos by Andrea K. Castillo