MIA orchestrates mass stage invasion at Coachella

Singer wins stand-off with security in triumphant festival set

MIA played a controversial Coachella set tonight (April 26), that saw a mid-gig stand off between the singer and the festival authorities.

Packing out the Sahara Tent, MIA – backed by a DJ and vocalist – attempted to orchestrate a stage invasion that nearly brought her show to an early close.

Ahead of ‘Bird Flu’, the singer called on the sweaty crowd, some of whom had climbed the marquee’s rafters to get a better view, to join her.

“We want some people up here,” declared the singer, who features prominently in the current Future 50 special issue of NME. “We want the leaders to come up here and support people coming up here.”

On cue, nearly 50 people rushed the stage and danced while MIA delivered her vocals from the pit.

This move upset the tent’s security, resulting stand off at the end of the song when the house lights were turned on as attempts were made to clear the invaders.

“Can we turn the fucking lights out?” she repeatedly asked, before explaining: “I want to go back to [warehouse rave scene of] London town in 1992, unless the lights go out I’m not getting on with the show!”

After a long delay the lights were finally dimmed to loud cheers, and half the crowd members left the stage as she got on with ‘XR2’.

Despite the controversy, MIA was on top form, with the likes of ‘Boys’ and ‘Galang’ getting the capacity crowd pumped up.

As she reached her set’s curfew, she announced, “We’ve got five minutes, I’m going to do two songs”, but managed to pack in even more.

First she sang the chorus of The Verve‘s ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ deliberately out of tune, before tearing into a short version of ‘Sunshowers’.

To rapturous applause, she introduced MC Afrikan Boy to provide guest vocals for a snippet of ‘Hussel’ before the pair reunited again for The Clash-sampling triumphant closer ‘Paper Planes’.

“I’m sorry, I’ve got to go,” explained MIA as she left the stage. “Enjoy your Saturday night.”

MIA played:

‘Bamboo Banga’



‘Bird Flu’




‘Paper Planes’

Stay tuned to NME.COM for complete coverage of the Coachella Festival with news, blogs and photos throughout the weekend.