Other highlights of the night included “Hombre,” with backing vocals provided by hype-girl Cherry. Cherry’s contributions also benefited crowd-pleasing tracks like “Amazon,” and “Bingo.” The song that received the loudest reception was “10 Dollar,” with M.I.A.’s suggestive dancing positively enhancing the songs already seductive lyrics. M.I.A. ended the encore of her relatively short set with “U.R.A.Q.T.,” leaving the captivated audience wanting more.

By now M.I.A.’s biography has become somewhat hyperbolized. You know the story — Born in war-torn Sri Lanka, her father a notorious Tamil Tiger, moving to East London as a teen, dropping out of art school, etc.. Regardless of the authenticity of her legend, the art she’s turned her story into is stunning. Prowling a stage set with wooden tigers and paper palm trees, she proved to a packed St Andrews audience that politics and dancing aren’t mutually exclusive.  

M.I.A. however, wasn’t there to preach; she let her music do the talking. Besides lyrics to the booty-shaking, bass-heavy bonus track from her debut Arular, the only Bush reference was a sample of Kanye West saying “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” that led into “Fire, Fire.” Wisely, her inter-song banter was kept to thanking her fans for their support. And what support the audience provided, gladly throwing their hands into the air and shouting along to the anthemic chorus’ of songs like “Pull up the People” and set-closer “Galang.” 

The only minor disappointment was the lack of new material.  M.I.A. did debut one new song, but failed to identify it. The new track was one of the better of the night, its reggae ‘riddims’ providing an interesting variation to her normally staccato delivery. Interestingly enough, it was easier to decipher M.I.A.’s lyrics live as she delivered them with surprising clarity and confidence. Overall, the songs didn’t vary much from the studio versions, with the exception of a few interesting instrumental interludes. The Eurythmics sample leading into the blaring horns of “Bucky Done Gun” was an especially inspired selection.

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