DELUCA: M.I.A. Just Meh At The Factory

DAN DELUCA: From its title, Maya, you might think M.I.A.’s confrontational (and disappointing) new album would be her most personal to date. Instead, its wall of digital noise, which aims to offer insight into the wired-yet-alienated way we live, loses her human voice amid the clutter. M.I.A., who was accompanied by a DJ, several dancers, and three burka-clad backup singers who remained in a dimly lit corner of the stage, did connect with her fans physically. She crowd-surfed stylishly in her long-sleeved buttoned-up black-and-white ensemble during a ruggedly rhythmic “Bamboo Banga” and the closing, cathartic “Paper Planes.” She sat atop speakers stacked four high during her “Born Free,” a single that samples the 1970s electro-punk band Suicide, and brought a couple of dozen enthusiastic audience members on stage while she rapped, “I got something to say.” (The song’s controversial video features red-headed youths being rounded up by U.S. paramilitary forces and executed.) M.I.A. has assembled an avid audience eager to embrace club music of a higher intelligence. That audience seems to be getting smaller, though. Last time she came through town, in 2008, she sold out the Factory; this time it was but two-thirds full. The reason for the shrinkage was made obvious by her performance. MORE

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