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Hard Fest NYC review.

July 25th, 2010 -




I had purchased these tickets before M.I.A’s album leaked , and was really excited to see her again, after catching her at Coachella back in 2008.  This was my first journey over to Governors Island, and security for the show was nothing like I had ever seen before EVER.  After standing in a 400 person line to get on the ferry, was our first security search, just the usual bag check, & pat down. After taking a 5 minute ferry ride over, was the most intense search. They had every single person taking off their shoes (security actually banged our shoes together), going through wallets, pockets, socks, the whole nine. Not to mention they had the strangest list of things you were not allowed to bring in. The most ironic part about all the security was that no one was even IDing @ the bars.




We caught about 30 min of Theophilus London set which seemed pretty empty- but was a solid set to say the least.  My favorite part of his set was when he started sampling Whitney Houston’s ” I will always love you.”
Theophilus London |
Next up was Skream & Benga. Since I had never seen them before live, I had no idea what to expect. They we’re on fire! Song after song, the crowd became more excited, and wildly dancing. This set might have been the highlight of the entire evening.
After a quick set change, Sleigh Bells we’re on. I had seen them about 2 weeks prior in West Palm Beach in a 200 person venue.  Since that was such an intimate setting, I noticed that Alexis (lead singer) was lip syncing. I was in complete shock, but it some how didn’t take away from the energy, and the awesomeness of the show.  I was only hoping for the same kind of energy, and boy did they not disappoint. They had the crowd in the palm of their hands opening up with “Tell ‘Em.” and singing the other songs of their debit album Treats. Set list included-” Rill Rill,” “A/B Machines,” “Infinity Guitars,”  and closing the set with “Crown on the Ground.”
Sleigh Bells |

Die Antwoord |
Since I had been  dancing my face off for 4 hours, I was pumped for M.I.A. to finally come on stage.  She started her set with “Steppin Up,” and the crowd seemed pretty disinterested. No one was dancing, and just standing around waiting for her to play something, anything that was not off her new album. After about 30 minutes, I would say about a quarter of the crowd left. Yes, it was really that bad. As the show continued she asked for a shot of tequila, and right after transitions into “Tekilla.” She kept reiterating to everyone that she didn’t have a set list and wanted to know what we wanted to hear. Then for about 5 minutes straight, she just wanted to play gun shots. I was really expecting more from M.I.A., but I wasn’t that surprised considering how her new album turned out. Maybe she lost her mojo now that she’s  had a baby. As the night continued, she played “Lovalot” and a  teaser for “Born Free.” Then all of a sudden right as “Boyz” started, the skies opened up. The downpour was coming down really hard, and almost everyone was embracing it. By far that was the highlight of her set- and the crowd finally woke up. The light show was incredible with the rain going through, & looked like a kaleidoscope. After that song- she started singing a cappella, then about half a second later everyone on stage ran under the tent off stage. The show was cut short due to lighting, which almost seemed like a blessing.  Lesson learned- never pay to go see M.I.A.  again.
* Pictures courtesy of yours truly.

*Update- M.I.A. has said via twitter, that she will preform a free show for NYC if you kept your ticket.

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