A painting of me

M.I.A. @ The Pheonix

   28 September 2005, mid-morning

“Your show was really good”

“Thanks,” MIA replied. She then turned to Parthi and said, “See, your friend is keeping it simple.” Parthi had just finished lecturing MIA on how she should manage her career.

What a night out. Through a series of random flukes, Parthi managed to make the MIA concert one of the most interesting nights out I’ve ever had.

I arrived the Pheonix about an hour after the doors had opened for the MIA concert. I was supposed to meet up with Ananthan, who I had met through Haran. You might think that it would be hard to find a random Tamil dude at a Tamil rapper’s concert taking place in a city with a huge Tamil population. You’d be way wrong. In a sea of hipster white people I found Ananthan and all the other Tamil people attending the MIA show.

There were 8 of us in total. Ananthan had brought Parthi and some his friends: Alex, Johnny, and Arun. A Tamil dude—from my old High School Woburn in fact—saw their posse and joined up. To say we stood out would be an understatement.

The opening act was good, but this is a post about MIA. And when I say MIA, I really mean Parthi.

Parthi was his usual self. He had decided early in the night he’d climb on stage when MIA started singing. No one actually thought he would do it. Well no, that isn’t quite true. MIA started her set with a bang. I hadn’t heard anything by her prior, and was really impressed. I was equally impressed when I looked to my left and saw Parthi up on the stage dancing. This lasted about 5 seconds. A bouncer came and pushed him right off the stage. MIA, seeing all this take place, came over to that side of the stage and reached down into the crowd to help Parthi back up—and then back on to the stage. Parthi danced for a couple songs before being pushed off into the backstage.

I assumed that was the end of the night for Parthi. However, not five minutes later I look to my left and see him in the crowd dancing. MIA continued to perform. And then Parthi climbed on stage again. The bouncers weren’t having any of that.

We watched Parthi get dragged off into the backstage. My friends and I stayed to listen to the rest of the set, which was amazing, and then made our way outside.

Parthi, who I half expected to be bruised and battered, was handing out flyers for the after party. Not only was he handing them out, he was doing a damn good job at it. He managed to get us all on guest list for the after party, being thrown by Rory Them Finest.

We couldn’t leave just yet. Parthi decided that the smart thing to do would be to camp in front of the tour bus. Which we did for quite a while. It is at this point I learned that there were in fact about 5 other Tamil people at the concert—a bizarro Tamil contingent who seemed much better behaved than the one I was spending the night with. My contingent was probably a lot more fun mind you.

We met MIA for the first time at this point in the night. Parthi’s persistence and general ruckus raising had paid off. MIA came out and spoke with those of us around her tour bus briefly, and then jetted across the street with her entourage. Parthi felt that instead of going to the after party, it would be better to follow MIA and talk to her more. Most of us felt we should leave her be; Ananthan grabbed his car, and while we waited for Parthi to get tired of trying to get MIA’s attention once more, we listened to music and discussed whether going out so damn late on a Monday was a good idea.

We got to 69 Bathurst a little while after Midnight. We were all on the guest list, so we walked right into the place. It’s a really nice joint. The music was pounding and the party was really picking up when we got there. Diplo was spinning, and doing a fine job at DJing. His set was sick. Any man that closes the night off with some old school Jungle is all right in my books.

Parthi went off to try and scam his way into the VIP. His first attempt failed, so he ended up on the stage at the night club dancing. Diplo was also up on stage. Every so often Parthi would walk over to Diplo and ask him to play a song. From where I stood, across the dance floor, it looked like Diplo’s responses to all these requests were, “Leave me the fuck alone, I’m trying to DJ.” He might have been more cordial. This happened about 5 times though, so by the end I’m sure he was getting tired of taking requests.

I went to the bathroom and when I got back Parthi wasn’t on stage. My first thought was, “damn, he got kicked out. And he was having such a good run.” I had spoke to soon. Parthi was sitting in the VIP with MIA’s cousins.

We danced till the shut the down bar, a little past 2:30 AM. We staggered outside, where MIA was loitering with her cousins and entourage. This was the second time we met MIA. We had been harassing her all night—and when I say we, I mean Parthi—so no one really wanted to go and bug her—and by no one, I mean everyone except Parthi. At this point in the night, Parthi was far too excited and happy after seeing her to just leave like that. So, while I tried to get him to come back to Ananthans’s car, Parthi explained to Maya the significance of the date she chose to perform in Toronto, that she should focus on the flaws of the Sri Lankan government rather than play up any support she may have for the Tamil Tigers, that he was planning a talk in Waterloo on the legitimacy of the struggle for an independent homeland for the Tamil people, and a slew of other things. When he was done, I said the first and only thing I said to MIA the whole night: “Your show was really good.”

Six of us crammed into Ananthan’s accord and we were off.



  1. Details Ram, details! I got tix for her Detroit show tonight, I need to arrange for a series of random flukes too…

    I can’t believe I missed that show.

  2. i have more to add:

    parthi got his nice waterloo shirt signed by mia

    mia’s cousins were bitches of the highest order, but mia could be the most patient person in the world

    mias bodyguard was useless in the face of parthi

    we took a group picture with mia, on her cousins camera, so thats probably gone

    alex brought a film camera with exactly one picture left, and took a picture of me, rather than mia

    arun got like 2 pictures on his phone, but they suck, ill try to get them though, all of us are dumb for not bothering to bring a single camera

    and haran, next time, we will rep again, this is 2 shows where tamils have failed to show up, oh well though, it was fun !

  3. I can’t believe I didn’t bring a single camera with me. I own like 4. There were so many classic pictures to be taken last night.

  4. I went to the Detroit show, same hipster crowd…good performances, I liked Spank Rock too.

    Sadly no stories…I didn’t have the (liquid?) courage to go on stage.

    Also, the beast of a bouncer that was protecting the stage looked like he would eat me.

  5. hey guys… cool meeting you… fun times!

  6. Parthi you are CRAZYYY!!! man i wish i came with you guys to the MIA concert! Mtl version was so lame compared to your night!

  7. oh my. i was wondering who that guy was that got on the stage. i was at the same concert and i wrote about it in my blog, my friend some how knows a guy that knows a guy that knows him so he sent me this link.
    awesome show.

  8. me wanttt MIAAAA… gimme gimme :D

  9. I read this again and my life is so boring now.

    Can we all go to the next MIA concert?

  10. Yes! I went to her last show by myself, but ended up bumping into some of my cousins friends. It was fun, but it really wasn’t the same. This night was epic.

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