Is M.I.A. Missing In Action?, or, How 2 Make A Gun W/ UR Hand

The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
9/29 & 9/30 – /\/\/\Y/\, out now!

Whether she wants to admit it or not, M.I.A. is a celebrity. Since the (commercial) success of “Paper Planes,” the performance artist turned electro-banger sailed on to create an album which spawns controversy wherever it lands. One of Maya Arulpragasm’s recent music videos (directed by Romain Gavras) caused quite the anger-gasm as the majority of the viewing public failed to understand just exactly what the artist was trying to say. [Read more…]


M.I.A. – /\/\/\Y/\
Interscope Records
Out July 13, 2010

Your favorite Sri Lankan, M.I.A., drops her semi-eponymous album /\/\/\Y/\ on July 13th. A few singles have leaked demonstrating the strange evolution from her global party-starter tracks like “Paper Planes” to the electro-industrial “Born Free.”

This new album is set to feature a few of her favorite DJ’s tearing up the track. The newest track to “leak” is this fantastic mess:

[Read more…]

M.I.A. New Track “Born Free” Leaked!

M.I.A Born FreeOne of the coolest Serbians in the world introduced me to M.I.A. soon after her Billboard chart topping album Kala was released. I have been hooked ever since that night of drunken revelry. After the overexposure of “Paper Planes” to mainstream T.V. and radio hit (years after its initial release), I decided to keep my distance with respect. M.I.A. is an artist that you cannot just forget about, nor did I want to dislike her music. Let’s face it, I was tired of hearing “Paper Planes” on every radio station and ring tone!

However, M.I.A. continued to prove her capabilities to stay afloat in the music industry without relying on that one single to give her buoyancy. After working a bit with the award-winning movie, Slumdog Millionaire, and spending some time to raise her newborn son (10 points if you know his name), M.I.A. unveiled her own record label (N.E.E.T.). The new label already houses four amazing artists: Sleigh Bell, Blaqstarr, Rye Rye and the recently signed Jamie Martinez.

Even though I refuse to get a Twitter, I will admit to “stalking” M.I.A. since she (quietly) leaked a new track a while back (“There’s Space For Ol Dat I See”). While the mini music video looked like it was shot from a Macbook, the song was an exciting foreshadowing of an upcoming album. While the release may still be completely unannounced or expected this year, fans are getting pumped to hear a sound unlike anything they heard before.

M.I.AAnother track was leaked unofficially (read: not by M.I.A). The track is cleverly titled “Born Free.” It is truly a new insight into what M.I.A. has been up to in the studio. With plenty of drive, the new single sounds more like a rebellious anthem in the style of The White Stripes or Arcade Fire. Definitely not a bad thing coming from M.I.A. combined with DJs like A-Trak, Diplo or Switch. I should probably cave and get a Twitter account to follow M.I.A. easier and keep up as more releases are (eventually) leaked.

If you have a heart condition, please ask your doctor if you can listen to this new hit. Otherwise, enjoy!

“Born Free” – M.I.A.

(M.I.A.’s son is named Ikhyd Edgar Arular Bronfman)

M.I.A. to Headline Hardfest LA and NYC!





hard la

Global trendsetter & cultural icon M.I.A. will make her 2010 national stage debut with appearances at HARD festivals in NYC and LA this July! Performing alongside M.I.A. will be her own N.E.E.T. recording artists Sleigh Bells and Rye Rye along with Theophilus London, 12th Planet, Ninjasonik, Nguzunguzu and the hardest working man in LA, Destructo. HARD LA & HARD NYC will be the first chance to catch M.I.A. live in support of her upcoming summer release.

On July 17th, HARD will transform the Los Angeles State Historic Park into a huge day-long, two-stage festival. The caravan heads to New York next where HARD has partnered with The Bowery Presents for another two-stage outdoor extravaganza on July 24th at South Island Field on Governors Island. Both shows will have additional artists on the lineup to be announced closer to event dates. Tickets for both events are available starting Friday, March 26th. Scroll down for details on dates and where tickets can be purchased.

[Read more…]

Another Successful Year at Street Scene San Diego

Street Scene 2009
The Streets of San Diego – San Diego, CA
8/28 – 8/29/2009

Written by Nadia Ibanez


Fergie – Black Eyed Peas

It’s Monday morning and I’m still recovering from this weekend’s Street Scene 2009. Not only did the heat wear us local San Diegans down, but the intense energy buzzing through East Village was also a huge factor in the amazing music festival.

I think Friday was the best day for the event. We got there around 6 pm and the streets were pretty dead. Maybe it’s the economy, or maybe because the first night launched off on a work/school day, but the lack of people – compared to previous Street Scenes – was definitely apparent. Even the beer gardens were pretty ho hum! We still managed to have a stellar time.

[Read more…]


‘Gossip Girl’ Star’s Much Anticipated First Album

Due In-Stores Later This Year

(New York, NY – April 23, 2009) Universal Republic Records has signed celebrated actress/singer-songwriter Leighton Meester, star of the CW’s hugely popular drama ‘Gossip Girl,’ through an agreement with Time-Act Music to release her debut album this fall.   Possessing a self-described “passion for music for as long as I can remember,” the multi-talented 23 year old star has been recording the new album in Los Angeles with some of today’s hottest producers including Harvey Mason Jr. (Justin Timberlake, Pink), Polow Da Don (Usher, Fergie, Kelis) and Spencer Nezey (Jupiter Rising).

“Leighton Meester’s tremendous presence and spirited approach to her musical artistry is a perfect fit with her new Universal Republic home as we introduce current and new fans to this unique facet of her immense talent,” stated Monte Lipman, President and CEO of Universal Republic Records.

[Read more…]

Chicago’s B96 Jingle Bash Presents Rihanna

B96 Jingle Bash
Allstate Arena – Rosemont, IL
December 16, 2008

Rihanna B96 Jingle Bash Allstate Arena - Rosemont, IL


Breakin’ Dishes



Paper Planes (M.I.A. cover)

Live Your Life (T.I.)

Take A Bow

Shut Up And Drive

Forever (Chris Brown)

Don’t Stop The Music

Cinderella (Umbrella cover w/ Chris Brown)

Surprisingly, Rihanna did not perform such hits as: Unfaithful, Pon de Replay, Break It Off (w/ Sean Paul), Hate That I Love You (w/ Ne-Yo), If I Never See Your Face Again (w/ Maroon 5), or the original version of Umbrella (w/ Jay-Z). However, the fact that Chris Brown made a special guest appearance and performed his hit Forever (complete with music video dance choreography!) more than made up for Rihanna‘s too short set. More photos after the jump…

Photos of Rihanna:

Santogold: Crazy Sexy Cool

House of Blues – Chicago, IL

Santogold House of Blues - Chicago, ILSanti White (Santogold)

Before this past July, I had never heard any music by Santogold. All I knew about her was from what I read in Blender, Spin, and Rolling Stone this past spring. I knew she used to work in A&R at SonyBMG in New York City. I knew she was another female rapper/singer falling into the same category as Lady Sovereign, M.I.A., Estelle, Lily Allen – all of whose music I enjoy. A die-hard Coldplay fan, I attended both of the band’s Chicago shows. Upon hearing the news that Santogold was booked as the opening act for the U.S. Coldplay tour, I figured those two shows last July would be my opportunity to check out some of Santogold’s music for the first time.

To keep reading my story (there is indeed a happy ending!), check out more photos from the concert and see the set list from Chicago’s show, continue on to the next page…

I was talking to a friend who works for an advertising company in Chicago that specializes in commercial music placement and licensing. She informed me that a recent project her boss had worked on involved placing Santogold’s track “Lights Out” in a new Bud Light Lime TV commercial that aired throughout the summer. I do not watch much television; therefore, I didn’t catch the commercial until about a few weeks ago. This was way after the Coldplay shows, but before Santi’s MySpace Gold Rush headlining tour last weekend at Chicago’s House of Blues. Anyway, the point of my drawn-out story is that as soon as Santogold sang the hook of her song “L.E.S. Artistes,” the first song of her set opening for Coldplay on July 22nd, I was OBSSESSED. I was actually angry with myself for not taking a listen to her songs before that show, especially since I had been reading great things about her for months before that! I am not joking. I felt like I had been depriving myself of this music – Santi’s music – that would have made my life so much better if I had discovered it sooner. Man, was I missing out on great songs or what?! By the end of her 30-minute set that night, I made a promise to myself to purchase her self-titled debut album, Santogold, before I left the United Center.

Set List

Sunday 9/28/08

Santogold House of Blues - Chicago, ILWell, even though I had good intentions of legally paying for music on impulse, it didn’t happen. But it wasn’t my fault! I went up to the first merchandise table I found and asked if they were selling Santogold’s album. For some weird reason, they said that no CDs were being sold at all that night or the next night. I guess larger arenas like Chicago’s United Center do not sell CDs at concerts anymore. Don’t ask me why… So I went back the next night of course to see my favorite band Coldplay, but this time around I was stoked to get another chance to hear those Santogold songs! I had been singing them all day at work. By the end of the second show, I was determined to get my hands on her record no matter what. Waking up early for work the next morning, I went to the iTunes Music Store and downloaded Santogold. My life is now that much closer to being complete. I am content and have officially been converted to a Santogold fan for life. I wouldn’t be surprised if she performs at next year’s Lollapalooza and neither should anybody else. She’s probably been booked for Lolla already…

Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos:

Kate Voegele Comes Back to Chicago

Kate Voegele
Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL

Kate Voegele is a busy girl these days. Her fan base has grown so much since the last time I saw her show back in February. What a difference! The all-ages show was packed with several One Tree Hill fans. It was so hard to get a good spot in the joint.  Kate always amazes me; I still don’t know how such a large voice can come out of such a tiny girl. Kate played songs from her album Don’t Look Away and graced us with some new songs including “Lift Me Up” which is on the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack for the Olympics.

For other shows of Kate that we have covered you can check them out here and over here or for interviews with Kate go here and here!

More photos of Kate Voegele in Chicago at the Beat Kitchen:

8/23 Gurnee, IL Gurnee Mills

8/24 Cleveland, OH HOB

8/26 Philadelphia, PA World Café

8/27 Norfolk, VA Norva

8/29 St. Petersburg, FL State Theater

8/30 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Culture Room

8/31 Orlando, FL Social

9/3 Atlanta, GA The Loft

9/4 Birmingham, AL Workplay

9/5 New Orleans, LA House of Blues Parish

9/6 Houston, TX Wherehouse Studios

9/7 Dallas, TX The Loft

9/10 Los Angeles, CA Roxy

9/11 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall

9/12 Santa Barbara, CA West Beach

9/13 San Diego, CA SOMA Sidestage

9/14 Phoenix, AZ Martini Ranch

9/16 Denver, CO Bluebird

9/18 St. Louis, MO FuBar

9/19 Indianapolis, IN Music Mill

9/20 Pittsburgh, PA Rex Theater

9/21 Detroit, MI Crofoot Ballroom

9/23 Toronto, ON El Mocambo

9/24 Rochester, NY Water Street

9/25 New York, NY Irving Plaza

9/26 Boston, MA Somerville

9/27 New Haven, CT Toad’s Place

9/28 South Hackensack, NJ School of Rock

9/30 Baltimore, MD 8×10

10/1 Fallas Church, VA State Theater

10/3 Westchester, PA West Chester University

10/5 Salisbury, MD Salisbury University

M.I.A. Cancels Eurpean Tour

M.I.A.M.I.A.’s Statement:

“I’m canceling because I feel like physically I just have to stop for a second. It’s too insane,” M.I.A. told “I was losing a sense of just, like, reality, you know what I mean? I think for an artist like me, it’s so important for me to be in the streets and go to the same shop every day and see the same people and, like, communicate. And it’s really difficult to do that when you’re in the city every day for 24 hours. Like, I love connecting with my band, but I want to actually help them and be a part of peoples’ lives. Which is really hard when you’re on tour…It takes a lot out of you, physically. I make club music, which means I’m clubbing every night for, like, six months. Know what I mean? So now and again you finally just want to be gardening and get your nails done or something like that.”

Plus her Bonaroo Set for Friday has been canceled. If you are hanging at Bonaroo don’t be waiting around for M.I.A.

M.I.A. Throws Dance Party in Chicago

Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL

MIA aragon

M.I.A. is CRAZY y’all! In a good way, of course. Her show this past Friday night was not sold out, so if you missed it, it’s your own fault for not going to the party. I don’t feel sorry for you at all – I’m not taking any excuses! She was about a half an hour late to come on stage, which was annoying the heck out of the fans and the photographers in the pit – myself included. Her DJ, Chicago’s own Million $ Mano, spun for about 10-15 minutes before M.I.A. hit the stage. But in the end she proved how much she appreciates her fans by allowing plenty of time during her set for audience interaction.

MIA aragonAt one point, she brought up TONS of female fans (100+) to join her onstage for her song 10 Dollar, which is off her debut album – Arular. That track turned into a fan favorite, Boyz, from her latest album – Kala. Poor, poor security…they really had no idea what was about to happen. I watched as girls and more girls jumped the barricade and bombarded past the security guards to rush the stage and dance with M.I.A. I mean, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of the fans at this show. So I don’t blame them at all for wanting to be up on stage with one of their favorite artists. If I could dance (I have NO rhythm when it comes to moving my body), I would have been up there in a heartbeat.

My favorite song of the night was Paper Planes. I even recorded a video of that performance using my kick-ass camera with awesome audio AND visual quality. At one point near the end of her set, M.I.A. attempted to crowd surf. Her dedicated fans were totally ready to hold her up, but a security guard came over and yanked her back. So she basically just stood on the ledge of the barricade and leaned as far over into the crowd as she could to high five her fans. Hey, at least she made the effort to connect with her audience. If you get a chance in a city near you, go and check out M.I.A. I promise, you will not be bored one bit during her live performance. She is VERY entertaining.


Fly By Night Turns 1

Fly By Night Featuring DJ Willy Joy
Debonair Social Club – Chicago, IL

Fly By Night Featuring DJ Willy Joy Debonair Social Club - Chicago, IL

“Hey Chicago! It wouldn’t be Fly By Night if we didn’t play this,” Willy Joy told the dancing crowd at the Debonair Social Club Thursday, April 17, before launching into another brilliant, improbable mash-up. Willy Joy is an elite Chicago DJ who can be seen scratching together pop singles, the hottest rap tracks, and famous a cappella choruses from rock classics into infectious club beats nearly every weekend. The DJ caliber of the 1-Year Anniversary of Fly By Night was strong throughout, although it took some time for a crowd to form, straying from repetitive and pretentious build-ups. MIA is the mashing component of choice for nearly all DJs post-2005; during the string of sets, sampling from “Boyz,” “XR2,” and “20 Dollar” made for powerful mixes. The exhausted “I’m A Flirt” was replaced with “Hook It Up,” from R-Kelly, another artist often subject of reworking. Highlights before Dude ‘N’ Nem took stage used hooks from Iggy Pop’s “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” a bizarre “Hit the Road, Jack” sampling, the “Ain’t No Mountain High” club version, and the almost undistinguishable use of the Pixies’ “Hey.”

The night also featured the feet-happy, comical Chicago rap duo Dude ‘N’ Nem, who took stage around 1:00, followed by MIA touring DJ Low Budget.

Fly By Night Featuring DJ Willy Joy Debonair Social Club - Chicago, ILLook for Dude ‘N’ Nem at Subterranean Sunday Night, April 20,

Low Budget in Chicago at the Aragon Theatre May 9, And Willy Joy and the Fly By Night fleet all over town -MySpace Fly By Night Featuring DJ Willy Joy Debonair Social Club - Chicago, IL

Fly By Night Featuring DJ Willy Joy Debonair Social Club - Chicago, IL

M.I.A. – House of Blues – Chicago

House of Blues – Chicago, IL
Wednesday, November 21, 2008

This chick is pretty much the coolest on the block. I LOVE her. I saw her for the first time at Lollapalooza this past summer and she blew me away. I was going to see her again on Friday, November 23 at a different venue (The Vic Theatre) in Chicago, but I ended up having to work that night. I was bummed to miss out on two M.I.A. shows in three days! Chicago’s very own The Cool Kids opened for her. Since Against Me! Played an early show that same night at the HOB, M.I.A. did not go on stage until 1:08 AM and performed until 2:30 AM! Thank God the HOB’s late show curfew was 3 AM or else I would have passed out from exhaustion. She came out on stage in wearing her signature shades, even though the lighting in the venue was nothing near too bright. But whatever, if the girl wants to wear sunglasses at 1 AM inside a dimly lit room, then more power to her! I had no idea what she was saying or singing about pretty much for 90% of her songs, because her mix of British/Indian/Sri Lankan accents is like a foreign language to me. I just keep my mouth shut and watch her super fans sing along to every word of every song. She had two backup singers/rappers/dancers and a DJ for her set. She also got behind some crazy weird DJ booth or mixing board and contributed some special effect sounds of her own.

I give her the most credit for audience interaction though. I was on the main floor in the pit with two friends on the far right – in front of the speakers. She spent most of the time either in the middle of the stage or on the right (stage left), directly in front of where my friends and I were standing! She was so close to us. She kept climbing up the speakers and sitting on them to sing her songs. She also got down off the stage and stood on the barricade rail while the security guards had to hold her up and the fans tried to pull her into the crowd with them. Kinda scary…The BEST part of the whole show was when she brought up about 30 kids from the front of the pit and let them dance and sing along with her to one song. Security must have been warned about this because nobody stopped the kids from running up there. She put her mic in front of a few of her fans and let them sing/scream/shout along to the lyrics of her song with her. I was very impressed with her at that point. She totally won me over. It was like some rave up on the HOB stage at 2:15 in the morning on a school night! All the colors of the rainbow were represented at this show. American Apparel was EVERYWHERE!