Last Night: M.I. A. and The Cool Kids at House of Blues

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M.I.A November 4th, 2007 House of Blues

Better than: Staying at home to watch the Cowboys Vs. Eagles (HoB was decorated with flat screens flashing the game. Fat beats and football, booya!)

Review: Last night, when I partied down to the Cool Kids and M.I.A. at House of Blues, I was elated. For the first time since the last time I popped Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo in my DVD player, I was immersed in the flashy, true-school style of B-boys and B-girls complete with talented scratchers, fly dancers, sweet O.G.M.T.V. style graphics and, most importantly, powerful, anthematic raps and verbal poetics.

Opening act of the Sunday night show was the Cool Kids, a fresh, funky collaboration of Chicago youngsters Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish. Inspired by vintage rap-by-number rhyme schemes and slow, dirty deep bass drops, the Cool Kids had every leather-banded wrist in the joint swaying and waving in the air. With heads bobbing, rumps shaking and dope beats flying, the energy of show was raucous with little or no pretense or…well, you know…trifling.

Sri Lanka/U.K. beat diva M.I.A. has been a dance floor favorite of mine since the explosive drop of her 2005 EP Arular. Her revolutionary rebellion mixed with playful, sexy beats leaves the style of her music unclassifiable. Imagine morphing Sandra Bernhardt with Missy Elliot and infusing the lovely-beast with the radical spirit of Rastafarian Kingston Rockers and there you have it.

M.I.A. dropped hits from her first album, such as “Bucky Done Gun,” along with fresh remixes of New Order’s "Blue Monday" and fresh, raunchy new single premiers from her 2007 release Kala. She achieved an eloquent balance of vixen and tough woman. The audience danced on stage with M.I.A. and her performing trio of two fly-femme emcees and a deejay while midway sirens blasted through the music hall. 1980s-Max Headrom–style videos turned the stage into a giant throwback of the B-boy day -- when sequins, Converse and a fervent message delivered in tight synthesizer beat was all anyone needed to let loose. -- Krissi Reeves

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