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M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem follow the buzz

Avalon, Boston, June 8, 2005

By Jeffrey B. Remz

BOSTON - LCD Soundsystem didn't have an easy time following the rapping of much acclaimed, buzzed about Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A.

But the band didn't take very any prisoners in its take on danceable rhythms with heavy beats.

LCD Soundsystem is really the creation of James Murphy, a Princton, N.J. native, who made his musical mark across the Big Pond.

Murphy got it going right away with heavy handed, but quite sturdy drumming from "Patrick," who continued to bang the hell out of the drums for the next 70 minutes. He set one furious pace.

Helping out as well was keyboardist Nancy Whang, who was more under the radar screen than not, but her softer lines were in sharp contrast to the drummer.

The music tended to build time and again with pulsing rhythms getting the crowd of 1,300 bopping and moving. How couldn't you?

Murphy himself is a likable enough frontman. But he is not a particularly distinguished singer - his voice simply isn't the most pleasant. It's certainly adequate, but not much more than that.

And his referring to "Patrick" (Mahoney) in his betweens ong a zillion times wore thin after awhile.

But fortunately the music mainly made up for it. It didn't matter if it was Murphy's own work, for example, the first encore song, "Jump Into the Fire," by Harry Nilsson.

After awhile, though, LCD could have used more diversity as you knew there'd be a reference to Patrick, the drumming would get cranking and so would the song without too much differentiation in style.

M.I.A. has secured much press, some of it for her interesting story of being the daughter of a rebel for the Tamil Tigers in her native Sri Lanka before moving with her mother to England when she was nine. She is not your typical rapper. In fact, she has jumped to a major label, Interscope, while touring behind her debut "Arular" on the much smaller XXL label.

M.I.A. (Maya Arulpragasam) isn't afraid to tackle politics in her songs. She talks of problems in her homeland wracked by violence for decades and the downtrodden. That comes through both in her raps, which sometimes have a dancehall reggae bent, as well as the backing screen which showed fighter jets, bombs being thrown and other acts of war. M.I.A. did at least some of the artwork herself as well.

Despite her personal history of dislocation and political stances, the energetic M.I.A. was an affable figure and never heavy handed on stage during her almost 50 minutes. She appreciated the audience greatly and and displayed a sense of humor. While she has room to grow, M.I.A. showed she is not merely a media darling.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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