What the hell did I just watch?
What the hell did I just watch?

Die Antwoord live mirrors viral insanity

Halfway through the bass-thumping, sweaty hot mess that was the Die Antwoord show at The Rave in the Eagles Club ballroom Wednesday night, I shouted, my words barely audible over the screaming Afrikaans rap, "How the hell am I going to write this review?"

Indeed, if you’re not familiar with the the South African, EDM, post-punk rave Zef murder rap duo, none of this will make much sense. I mean, I’m familiar with Die Antwoord, and it didn’t make much sense to me, either.

Let me set the scene: The jam-packed room was full of teens and millennials alternating between costumes of Furries and Mad Max fan fiction enthusiasts. I wasn’t the oldest guy in the room. Some hippies and a guy in Packers Zubaz, for some reason, held that distinction. 

The band, the duo of rappers/ex-partners Ninja and Yolandi Visser plus DJ Hi-Tek, made enough noise for more than three, although body suit dancers performing spastic tribal moves popped in and out to bring an amped-up taste of their native country's culture to the 80-minute set. 

Again, if you don’t know what Zef is, take a moment to watch one of their insanely NSFW YouTube videos that brought the Die to fame. In fact, that’s how most people even know about this Cape Town group. I asked a group next to me on the packed floor how they'd become familiar with Die Antwoord: "Internet," they replied in unison. Consider that "Baby’s On Fire" has three million views on YouTube alone.

I can’t exactly review all the songs they played, although the audience was getting restless after a looooong 25-minute video intro. Yes, they played "Baby’s on Fire," "I Fink U Freeky," "Fatty Boom Boom" and "Daddy." Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess what went down. Maybe ask that flailing giant in front of me on Ecstasy or Molly or something that this old man has never heard of.

How do you describe the glowering, the stage dives, the DIY scary hooded costume changes into hot pants and crop tops, the occasional male nudity or the inflatable figures with giant phalluses bouncing about on both sides of the stage? Or the little Zef kid who they brought up to dance along? You kinda don’t.

I’m pretty sure I had a good time on Wednesday night. It was certainly nuts, sounding more EDM in person than on YouTube, that’s for sure. Maybe I wasn't supposed to be sober, but I was.

One thing I left with: Ninja and Yolandi, their bios shrouded in secrecy, occasionally give off the image of morons or pseudo artists with an utter lack of control. That wasn’t the case at all. Die Antwood is comprised of clearly seasoned performers. It’s just the performance that’s batshit insane.


A video posted by Andy Tarnoff (@andytarnoff) on


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