NEW YORK — M.I.A. returned to Terminal 5 on Monday night and brought with her all the trappings one would expect from an M.I.A. show: thunderous bangers, fierce jerk dancers and, of course, her signature “statement” apparel.
Rye Rye, the first artist signed to M.I.A.’s N.E.E.T recordings, started the night off flanked by b-boys. One can’t help but be intrigued with the fact that such bars are being spit by a girl attending high school in Baltimore, not to mention someone that can dance as ferociously as she does.
DJ Asma took the stage for a couple of joints before bringing out a makeup-less M.I.A., dressed in a green safari hat and a black Middle Eastern getup straight out of the first “Mummy” movie, for /\/\/\Y/\ opener “The Message.”
From there the British singer/rapper launched into gems from her first two albums, Kala and Arular, with the crowd leaping on top of itself for “Galang” and bass-heavy “Bamboo Banga.”
She then removed her black top to reveal a T-shirt that said, “F— Google. Ask Me!”
Although there were some sound issues in the beginning of the set — at one point, M.I.A. took it upon herself to turn the speakers on the stage to face the audience — the crowd didn’t seem perturbed in the least.
As she strode in to hit “Boyz,” M.I.A. stripped down to what would be her outfit for the remainder of the night: a white satin top with matching boy shorts. Chanting “Oy, oy!” and “New York!” the crowd met her with equal fervor for new album joints, “Lovalot” and “Story to Be Told,” which had her switching between a sort of Bharatanatyam snake dance and a writhing punk twist.
For “Born Free,” M.I.A. launched herself into the crowd and surfed above her fans. After throwing her mic to the audience so they could join in, they threw it back. “There’s a dent in this!” she noted. “See, this is what YOU can do!”
A mesmerizing feature of the show was the kinetic movement of dancers Cisko and the awesome White Boi, who were both at M.I.A.’s side throughout the show.
She returned for her encore swigging from a bottle of Patron before singing “Teqkilla” and received an electric reception for her blowout finale, “Paper Planes,” which saw her entire entourage and a few audience members joining her onstage.