Meet The People Waiting In Line For M.I.A.'s Free Show At Brooklyn Bowl Last Night
The middle section of the line outside the Brooklyn Bowl
The staff at Brooklyn Bowl made it clear: Doors for M.I.A.'s long-threatened free show would open at 9:30 last night, and no one should bother lining up before 7. But by that time the line outside the venue (maximum capacity: 600) already stretched from the corner of Wythe and North 11 to end of the block, and then up another block to North 12. This suggests, of course, that despite her war with the Times and much-publicized sound problems at July's HARD Fest, M.I.A. matters as much as ever. These fans, all interviewed while standing in line between Wythe and Berry, would likely agree.
Kristine Shavers Arrival Time: 4 p.m.
Did you go to HARD Fest? If so, what did you think of it? Yeah, It was definitely an experience. I was there from about 4, and I saw a bunch of the people who were before her and all that, and it was really fun. I even fainted at one point. But I got some water, got back on my feet, and stuck around for her. Then it got cut short, and I felt like I had to come tonight to redeem myself. Did you hang onto your ticket stub? I did, but then I lost it, and I figured it didn't matter after finding out about all of this.
How long have you been an M.I.A. fan? Ever since "Galang." I think I was in high school then -- I'm about to finish up college now.
What do you think about the criticisms targeted at M.I.A. this year? I think they're just haters. Like the New York Times article and all that -- I think she set them straight too when she put the sound clips from the interview up on her own. So I never doubted her once.
If this cost money, would you still be here? Yes, I would, because even after HARD Fest, which I paid 60 dollars for, she had another concert at Terminal 5, which was another 40 dollars, so I've blown 100 dollars already. I would have paid again.
What have you been doing to pass the time? I've been talking to this guy [who'd been here since 2], and yeah, made a friend. People who are that early have got to be fans, so you find a lot to talk about in the meantime.
Scott S. Arrival Time: 4:50
Did you go to HARD Fest? I did not. I heard about it, and a lot of people here went.
How long have you been an M.I.A. fan? 25 years, maybe? No, how long has she been around, four years? So four years.
How have her troubles in 2010 affected your opinion of her? I haven't been as up-to-date with all the details of her career, so I might not be the right person to ask about that. I read the Times article, and I listened to the latest album. I think that it was an experimental album and not necessarily something that will define the rest of her career, so people should probably lighten up a little bit If this cost money, would you still be here? Depends on the price. I'd say, if it were more than $20, probably not.
What have you been doing to pass the time? We've been eating, and just talking about life. It's my birthday, so I've had some friends over. We made friends with some of the people here. It's passed very quickly.
Tomias Brathwaite Arrival Time: 5
Did you go to HARD Fest? No, not me. I'm not proud to say so, but no.
When did you become an M.I.A. fan? Maybe around 2008. I was somewhere in Brooklyn and heard "Paper Planes," and I was like, "Who the hell is that?" Then I knew about her when I heard T.I.'s Paper Trail.
How have her troubles in 2010 affected your opinion of her? I know she had a baby, and I heard her last album a little bit. It's very different from Kala, so I mean, yeah, I'm pretty much still a fan.
If this cost money, would you still be here? Probably not.
What have you been doing to pass the time? I still got Fritos right here in my pocket. I ate half of them already and drank about half a gallon of that yellow Vitamin Water. I was sitting down back there somewhere.
Kevin, accompanied by his buddy Joe on the right
Kevin Patrick Arrival Time: 5
Did you go to HARD Fest? Yeah, I loved it. I wish it wasn't cut short, but the reason it ended made it a very unique experience, so I wouldn't have changed it at all.
Did you hang onto your ticket stub? I did, and so when I heard that people who had tickets could come to the show, I definitely made sure I knew where it was.
How did you become an M.I.A. fan? I was watching TV, and her video for "Bucky Done Gun" came on, and it definitely caught my attention. I always remembered the sound and what she looked like. And then she started to become a little more present, and any time I would see her or hear about her, I would flock to it. And then she was regularly appearing places after that. How have her troubles in 2010 affected your opinion of her? I'm very much still a fan. I don't really think there's anything wrong with speaking your mind freely, as she does, which I think is what some people find to be the issue. And I would say that this third album probably takes the #1 position, if I had to put them in order, one to three.
If this cost money, would you still be here? Yes, I would. I saw her last Monday at Terminal 5. I'd pay whatever the regular ticket price is. So what, like, 50 bucks? I would spend that, probably up to 75, if I had to give a specific number.
What have you been doing to pass the time? We made some new friends, so that's cool. I came with my friend back here, and we're just hanging out. That's really it.
"Hard fest? Does it look like I went to Hard Fest?"
Rhianon Morgan-Hatch Arrival Time: 6:15
Did you go to HARD Fest? HARD Fest? Does it look like I went to HARD Fest? I don't even know what it is. [Note: She's from the U.K.] Oh yeah, I actually read about that. Some guy on the Internet was, like, really hating M.I.A. for that. When did you become an M.I.A. fan? Probably, like, 3 years ago? When did her first album come out? When that came out. How have her troubles in 2010 affected your opinion of her? Rough year. I'm a fan, but I'm not, like, a die-hard MIA fan. I know that she just had a baby and stuff, but that's about it. The new album sounded good, although I really don't know that much of it. I really like the Roman Gavras video. If this cost money, would you still be here? No. I mean, if it was, like, not that many dollars, I might have come. But when someone tells you it's free, you might as well. What have you been doing to pass the time? I'm with my friends, and we just met some new people and chatted.
Ed Mota Arrival Time: 5
Did you go to HARD Fest? Yes, and it was horrible. The sound was so bad. I've been to four of her shows, and that was the worst one. The sound messed everything up. It really made me appreciate how important sound is in concerts. And the sound was so awful, but she had good visuals and good dancers. And her set list was on point, but the sound was horrible.
Did you hang onto your ticket stub? I have it. I payed 60 bucks for it, so yeah. When did you become an M.I.A. fan? Like as soon as she came out -- 2005, 2006 maybe -- because of Arular, her first CD.
How have her troubles in 2010 affected your opinion of her? I'm still a fan, but after that last experience at the concert, I didn't want to pay for her live anymore. She promised a free concert, so I'm here, but if she disappoints me this time, I'm not paying for her again.
So you wouldn't have paid for a ticket to tonight's show? No, because she was here in New York last Monday, and I didn't pay for a ticket. I didn't want to be there. I paid 60 bucks, and it was a diss, so I'm not stupid. I don't want to pay 60 dollars again.
What have you been doing to pass the time? I don't know. I've just been trying to look good. I'm socializing.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.