Live Reviews: M.I.A. at the Showbox, Plus the Cops, Bill Patton

Selections from Reverb, our daily music blog.


Where: Showbox SoDo

When: Friday, Nov. 16, 2007.

Better than: Paying for a trip around the world.

The first and only time I saw M.I.A. perform was two years ago, not long after her debut, Arular, was released on XL Recordings, when she was just getting her feet wet performing. Because of her relative inexperience, her set suffered: Her DJ kept fucking up, and her backup singer/dancer/hype woman, Miss Cherry, made up for M.I.A.'s very awkward/distant stage presence. But that was then.

After a very long interval between the Cool Kids' opening set, the stage lights went down and M.I.A.'s DJ on this tour, Low Budget of Hollertronix, was the first to appear in front of the pixilated, animated black-and-white backdrop before Miss Cherry, dressed in a tight, white workout top and hot pants, and the fabulously fresh and flashy M.I.A. finally made it in front of the enthusiastic at-capacity audience and got right into it. The crowd was ready.

Much of M.I.A.'s latest, Kala, was covered, from "XR2" and "$20" to "Jimmy" and "Paper Planes." The entire set was riddled with ricocheting fake gunshots like it was a Clipse show, and the heavy bass tickled my nose hairs and reverberated through my body. M.I.A. moved around the stage like a little lynx, and hands reached out to touch her. At one point, she invited what seemed like 20–30 women onstage, bringing the level of the night's crowd excitement/staff nightmare to Stooges proportions. Pull Up the People, indeed.

Random Detail: Before we got to the venue, photographer Renee McMahon asked me who was opening. I had no idea, and said, "Oh, probably some cool kids." Turns out, the openers were called the Cool Kids. How 'bout that?!

Personal Bias: Play Piracy Funds Terrorism Volume 1 at a party, and watch people go nuts on the dance floor!

— Travis Ritter

The Cops

After getting way to tipsy in the basement "Grotto" of the Rendezvous on Friday night, I wobbled up to the Croc for the Cops' very sold-out CD release show. The boys proceeded to do what they do best, and that is put on a good, old-fashioned rock and roll show complete with squealing ladies and tight riffs—playing their aptly titled new record, Free Electricity, in its entirety, stopping the buzzing, energetic show for a moment only so frontman Mike Jaworski could receive a candle-bedecked birthday pumpkin pie. Folks in the crowd included a ton of drunken, heckle-happy ladies and a very impressed David Bazan, who'd never seen the local band play before.

Bill Patton

Sunday marked my first time seeing local songwriting master Bill Patton with his band, which includes Sera Cahoone drummer Jason Merculief and a new bass player Patton poached from the Seattle Symphony. Patton's got a voice like roughly split wood, ragged and smooth at once. From the land of scotch and 10,000 cigarettes, he channels everyone from Tom Waits to our own Damien Jurado, at times bringing the love affairs of crime fighters, sexy cavalries, and consumption of radon to life. He plays next at the High Dive on Nov. 25.

— Aja Pecknold

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