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FreeFest: Will the real M.I.A. please show up?

freefestM.I.A. was late for her messy West Stage closing set. (Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By Chris Richards

Nevermind that her still-kinda-new and still-really-disappointing third album "MAYA" left so much to be desired. Here's hard proof that Brit pop provocateur M.I.A. has finally arrived as a rapper: She's operating on hip-hop time.

Which is to say, she's arriving whenever she feels like it.

Such was the case when M.I.A. posted nearly 30 minutes late for her headlining West Stage set at Virgin Mobile FreeFest, Saturday. Better never than late? Her performance felt like a jumble of incoherent beats and chanting rhymes delivered in a chirp that bordered on shrill.

She may be slumping in 2010, but M.I.A. made her name by making similarly impossible balancing acts sound easy on her first two albums, grafting her strangely enchanting voice to rhythms from every corner of the planet. And while she performed handfuls of those tunes to a rapidly thinning FreeFest crowd Saturday, the excitement of her breakout years felt far, far away.

"Remember how confusing it was in the beginning?" she asked the crowd between songs in a spaced-out countenance. "It's still like that."


By Click Track  | September 25, 2010; 10:25 PM ET
Categories:  Live blogging  | Tags:  Virgin Mobile FreeFest  
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Next: FreeFest: LCD Soundsystem delivers the grandest of finales


The beer she was drinking on stage probably didn't help much.

Posted by: EricS2 | September 26, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

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