M.I.A.'s Meltdown's epic opening weekend

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Monday, June 12, 2017 - 17:05

And we’re off. M.I.A.’s Meltdown is well underway at Southbank Centre, beginning in style, with an epic opening weekend of live music and more.

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On Friday 9 June an overcast week finally saw brightness, as, with perfect timing, the clouds parted over Central London ready for the start of M.I.A.’s much anticipated Meltdown. Kicking off the 10 day  festival were Scottish trio Young Fathers who got us up and running with an emphatic performance, that set a high bar for the festival’s other acts.

In 2017, Young Fathers sound like no one else — in the most brutal and brilliant way possible
Rick Pearson, Evening Standard

And it wasn’t just the critics feeling the weight of Young Fathers, with Meltdown’s opening gig taking on epiphanic qualities for some of you lucky enough to be there to witness it with us.

After such a statement gig you might’ve forgiven us for taking it easy on Saturday, but there was never any danger of that happening as Just Vibez Carnival threw a riot of colour and sound at our Riverside Terrace to get the Southbank Centre up and jumping.

Just one long afternoon of such belting, bouncing atmosphere wasn’t quite enough for some of you though.

We’re with you in spirit Roulin, but we’re not sure we’ve got the stamina for 365 days of bumping and whining. There was no escaping the beats inside either come Saturday evening as electronic dance masters Soulwax hit the Royal Festival Hall, complete with three, yes three, drummers.

And the night didn’t end there. When the lights went out in Royal Festival Hall it was all down to Clore Ballroom for a late night dance party with Afrikan Boy that was as loud in colour as it was in sound.

On to Sunday and a different kind of intensity as Meltdown’s curator M.I.A joined Slavoj Žižek and Srećko Horvat for a fascinating forward-looking discussion that stretched from artificial intelligence in art to Jeremy Corbyn’s general election campaign.

Out on a sun-drenched Riverside Terrace Rinse FM cranked up the Meltdown atmosphere once more in the afternoon, with their Block Party getting young and old alike up on their feet.

Wrapping up Meltdown’s opening weekend was the French sensation, and pioneer of Afro Trap, MHD. This was the rapper’s debut UK performance and it’s safe to say he made an impression on a pleasingly packed Royal Festival Hall.

High praise indeed there, from our own Senior Contemporary Music Producer no less. the man himself seemed to enjoy himself too, so it seems only apt to give him the last word.

You’re very very welcome, Mohamed.

So, three days down, seven still to go with a bounty of gigs, talks, exhibitions and more across Southbank Centre between now and Sunday.

See the full Meltdown programme