Rye Rye, M.I.A. Montreal September 21, 2010 show review

Rye Rye opened, and I had the feeling not too many people knew her before hand. Despite that, she was bringing it! She was loaded with energy on a fast paced set with little time to clap in between each song. She had many people bouncing for sure, and nodding their heads to the old school beats in approval!

She played her known songs, “Bang” feat. M.I.A. (albeit M.I.A. was not on stage, it was just the sample heard in the recorded version), “Shake it to the Ground” feat. Blaqstarr, along with ones I was not familiar such as “Witch Doctor”, and “Hardcore Girls”.

Rye Rye’s debut, Go! Pop! Bang!, is scheduled for a January 2011 release at this point. I’m definitely looking forward!

She was probably on for approximately 30 minutes, but she packed in quite a show in that brief time. About ten minutes after Rye Rye finished, M.I.A.’s visual light board backdrop illuminated with MIA stylised with gold bars as it appears on her new album, /\/\ /\ Y /\ (MAYA). It had people excited, myself included thinking she was moments away from taking the stage. The anticipation lasted a little too long, probably around 15 minutes, all the while M.I.A.’s DJ was playing house style backing tracks. Not bad DJing, however when you are anticipating someone else, hard to appreciate it. Perhaps that was her time or warm up to prepare.

Finally M.I.A. took the stage starting the set off with “Illygirl”, not the most energetic/banging track to start off with. Her main set lasted probably 50 minutes or so, and a one song encore of “Paper Planes” of course. I like the track, however it is not my favourite of hers. Now it is probably an obligatory track to play, as that was her commercial breakout track from 2008, when she went from underground to mainstream. Of course she is still underground compared to the likes of Lady Gaga, etc. I would have preferred to hear “Sunshowers” or even “XXXO” over “Paper Planes”, well, “It Iz What It Iz”!

This was the first time I saw M.I.A., so I cannot really compare with past performances. However M.I.A. seemed a little tired, or lacking energy. Despite that, most people quite enjoyed the show judging by crowd reaction, and post show Tweets.

In the set she did manage to get to most songs that are well known, including “Galang”, “Bucky Done Gun”, “Boyz” and of course approximately mid set, “Born Free”. She also covered in her set songs such as “Amazon”, “Bamboo Banga”, “Steppin Up”, “Teqkilla”, “Lovalot”, and “Story to Be Told”. I would have liked to have heard “It Takes a Muscle” from her new album, and of course “XXXO”. From Kala, “Jimmy”, and from Arular “Sunshowers” would have been nice as well.

On stage with M.I.A. was two dancers, a backup singer/MC alongside M.I.A. and three backup singers in full Burqa style attire! M.I.A. came on quite heavily clothed with a scarf and hoodie, and shades, however she removed most after a few songs. As a friend told me she would, she was intereracting with the crowd, having a slew of ‘boys’ on stage during “Boyz”, singing ontop of the speakers, and singing right up with the crowd on the barrier, with her personal bodyguard (what I believe) holding her close. I think the show would have been more enjoyable to be up close, and feel more a part of the show.

Since Canadian electroclash artist Peaches introduced her to the Roland 505, M.I.A. was playing samples and the like alongside her DJ at a few points. The show was very much interspersed with M.I.A. beats and sound clips, I believe the introduction to “10 Dollar” was in there, yet was not actually performed.

All in all a worthwhile show. I would not quite say Rye Rye stole the show, as the vast majority was there for M.I.A., however she definitely went above and beyond as the opening act! I look forward to seeing M.I.A. again to see if she performs the songs I would have liked to have heard, and hopefully she’ll have a little bit more pep in her step!

(Some video shot by someone (Narbru on YouTube) on the balcony/floor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo34euYSPy8 performing “World Town”, “Bucky Done Gun”, “Boyz”, and “Paper Planes” from much closer on the floor.)

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