M.I.A. at the Hard NYC Fest: What Went Wrong?

Apologies for knocking indie-rock shows that we did not actually attend two Mondays in a row — but what in the holy hell happened during M.I.A.’s set at her self-curated Hard NYC Festival on Governors Island on Saturday, where by most accounts she was shown up by at least three of her own openers (including Sleigh Bells, Die Antwoord, and Rye Rye)? In today’s Times, Jon Pareles puts it politely, calling her rain-soaked headlining performance “strange,” “blurry,” and “murky”: “M.I.A.’s vocals were often so buried in echo, and the bass so bloated, that her lyrics just became more of the din, and the songs that she segued together like a disc-jockey set were barely distinguishable … [I]t was a morass.” Others were less kind! Most (including M.I.A. herself) blame the crappy mix, and fair enough, we suppose. But is this any way to stem the backlash? And could it really have been as bad as everyone’s making it out?

To the videotape!

Yep, that sounds pretty blurry, all right. How long until she tweets her sound technician’s phone number?

Eight Hours on an Island of Noise [NYT]

M.I.A. at the Hard NYC Fest: What Went Wrong?