by jon ledoux

All eyes are on Governor’s Island this weekend as HARD NYC comes to town, featuring a slew of DJs and bands that will take the stage with the New York City skyline as a backdrop. Sleigh Bells, Die Antwood, and Rye Rye, among others, will keep the all day-festival blazing with beats – in the heat.

The real heat, however, will be focused on MIA, the headliner of the fest who will be making her first live appearance in NYC since the summer of 2007 when she performed at Brooklyn’s McCarren Park Pool and treated her audience to a full-on dance assault drawn from her two previous albums, Arular and Kala.

With her third album, Maya, released just last week , MIA has created a maelstrom of publicity surrounding the album’s release. From the much-talked-about NY Times profile, to her infighting with producer Diplo, her violently brutal lead video for single “Born Free”, and her canceled performance at HARD LA, MIA has set the bar very high for herself.

She has big odds to overcome, and an even bigger chance to cement her dominance of the global-pop world with a hometown gig that has the potential to make her detractors shut their collective mouths.

Even though reviews of Maya have been mixed, MIA has the opportunity to make the new tracks expansive and raw in a live setting as big as Governor’s Island. Last week her performance of “Born Free” on Letterman, featuring a dozen female backup dancers dressed exactly like the star, points to the idea that she has some tricks up her sleeve.  The performance was energetic and provocative for the usually tepid Late Show.

Will MIA bring down the house, er, island? Will she reveal herself to be the global-hopping third-world rebel she claims to be? Or will she find herself and her music going the way of Lilith Fair? Time will tell, but her HARD NYC showcase will be a huge signifier of things to come. Check back next week for Quiet Color’s full coverage.

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