British-born Tamil vocalist & songwriter, Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam (Or popularly known by her performing name ‘MIA‘) has had a very musically successful 2007. Of late, she has garnered many column inches and pages in magazines due to her hard work, controversial political views and her critically acclaimed album, ‘Kala’.
Due to her sell out gig at the London ICA last week, another concert was arranged at the Coronet, Elephant & Castle. The missus managed to get a photopass for the gig. I’d already taken pictures of MIA, but wasn’t really happy with the results. Anyway, got to the venue which was already packed out. The spirit of Ebeneezer Scrooge was living on at the Coronet because the heating was switched off and it was flipping freezing. That still didn’t deter people from wearing just a t-shirt. Scratch that for a laugh!
As is normally the case, the lighting was really bad, and made even worse because of the smoke machine. To be honest, I was too cold to worry about that: I just wanted to get the shots I needed and get out. MIA was scheduled to perform at 9.15. No show. 9.30, no show. At 10pm, still no show. Of course by this time, the crowds were getting really irritated and the last thing I wanted was some beer flying into my gear. (Which has happened before!) I had already seen MIA’s play list and I just knew that there’d be no way she’d be able to play the whole set, considering the venue’s curfew was for 11pm. When MIA finally did appear, she was all over the place and started to get the crowds worked up. Of course for the photographers, it was always going to be a challenge: if it wasn’t the bad lighting, it was going to be her hair all over the place. But there was something missing from the gig. She just didn’t have that razzmatazz about her. The show seemed flat, and there just wasn’t that spark. I actually do like some of MIA’s stuff, but yesterday’s show was just dire. If anything, you could say that it was , “Eano Thaano!!” (Tamil for ‘half-hearted; lukewarm). Shame the same couldn’t be said about her tour manager. (whoever the heck he was!) Towards the end of the third song, this bearded gangsta/santa wannabe suddenly appears on the main stage and starts ‘commanding the photographers out from the pit as if we were street urchins. I swear, from the way he was enthusiastically perching off from the stage, if he had slipped and broken his neck, I doubt any of the photographers would have had any sympathy. So, muppet: whoever you are and you just so happen to be reading this, I might have a Christmas present for you: Free vouchers to ‘Ak’s School for Good Manners’. If you’re really good, I’ll throw more lessons in for free. The syllabus includes how to deal with photographers as human beings, and not being an arrogant schmuck! Come to think of it, why ARE most of these tour managers really up their own backsides like the nincompoops they set themselves out to become? I reckon that’s for another blog.
On the whole, how would I rate the add on MIA show? Well, it could have been better. Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as the Go-Team gig.
Anyway, a shot from the night: