After weeks of speculation, the secret guest of Vice and Intel's Creator's Project emerged on stage, decked out in flashing sunglasses, a camo-print hood and bright red lips. As screens throughout the eight-story Milk Studios building paused their live twitter feeds to announce that "your favorite Sri Lankan" was in Gallery 2, M.I.A. finally appeared amid seizure-inducing lights and shrieking crowds of fans.
As the last performer of the night, M.I.A. took the stage around 11:30pm, following short sets from Sleigh Bells and Die Antwoord. After over three hours of performances, the gallery was already packed with a hyped-up, sweating mass of fans, and the petite pop star's first song, "Born Free," fed off the audience's energy as back-up dancers riled the crowd up further.
After what seemed like a never-ending feud between the pop star and her recent adversary, Lynn Hershberg, M.I.A.'s performance was refreshing in its musical simplicity; truffle-fry induced feuds were the last thing on the audience's mind as MIA bellowed out her mixture of electro, pop and hip hop, intermingling classics like "Paper Planes" with debut songs from her newest album, "/\/\/\Y/\," out next month on her own label, N.E.E.T.
M.I.A. jumped around the stage with her duo of back-up dancers as she wailed out slightly indiscernible lyrics throughout her set--the singer's incredible enthusiasm was perhaps only matched by Creator's Project guest Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells.
Sporting at least half of Manic Panic's colorful collection, M.I.A.'s hair was obscured by a bright wig, covered in sections of red, white and blue. Arguably a patriotic nod to the USA, her fantastical frocks were just as ambiguous as any of M.I.A.'s possibly political statements. And yet, as the crowd of over 1,500 danced and screamed along to the singer's frighteningly catchy choruses, MIA's endless stream of questionable political pronouncements seemed entirely besides the point.
Despite the singer's slightly exhausting personality, her stage persona puts on a phenomenal show.