M.I.A. had a lot riding on Saturday’s HARD NYC festival on Governors Island. Following disappointing reviews of her latest album and the cancellation of the LA incarnation of the event, this was a chance for her to soar back, phoenix-like, and reclaim her crown. Unfortunately, a poor sound mix and a thunderstorm that cut her set short saw to it that that didn’t happen. Fortunately, however, for the thousands of fans in attendance, the day offered plenty of other highlights to make the excursion more than worthwhile.
Rye Rye represented Baltimore with a super-energetic set that could have doubled as the best aerobics class ever; Skream + Benga brought UK-style dubstep to the US masses; Sleigh Bells silenced the critics who think they need anything more than a guitar, a microphone, and a boat-load of amps to conquer the crowd; and Die Antwoord so thoroughly embodied the spectacle and over-the-top attitude they’ve constructed that few people thought to care just how genuine their act is.
All in all, we’re calling this one a success, even if it didn’t turn out that way for the main act. We’re not going to jump on the bandwagon and say it’s all over for M.I.A. though. We have faith she can still get back on top — there were just too many forces working against her this time.
Click through below for a gallery of images from HARD NYC.
– Intro by Doug Levy