Die Antwoord @ The Prince Bandroom, Melbourne (07/03/2012)
Tue 20th Mar, 2012 Event Reviewsin
Die Antwoord’s gig at the iconic Prince of Wales band room was a highly sought after event, selling out well in advance as fans the city over prepared to get their freak on and get into the ‘flex zone’. Having previously witnessed Die Antwoord at Big Day Out, I was totally prepared and excited for their insanely high-energy show, penchant for penises, insane costume accessories and near nakedness. The vibe at the Prince was pretty chilled as people took up their places, alongside other strangers that didn’t really care about personal space, to catch a glimpse of the rap group’s characters – Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek.
The minute the beat to Fok Julle Naaiers and Leon Botha’s face came up on the projector, it was all over. The crowd went absolutely mental! DJ Hi-Tek was out with his demented face mask, and all three wore fluoro orange tracksuits and hoodies. The Prince’s small stage was utilised within an inch of its life, as the platinum blonde spunk bomb Yo-Landi and audacious crew-cut-with-mullet toting Ninja paced up and down, arms pounding, pelvises thrusting and middle fingers up. It wasn’t long before Ninja was topless, displaying tatts on a now sweaty torso, glinting in the stage lights. With burrowed frown, wild eyes and complete physical abandon, Ninja threw himself head first into the crowd, who held him up diligently and replaced him back on the stage in perfect harmony with the next beat.
Wat Pomp caused the masses to jump up and down in a maniacal frenzy, as Die Antwoord’s videos played on the screen behind DJ Hi- Tek, and were the perfect accomplice to the group’s ability to completely bombard their audience with visual and aural aesthetics. With the freaky erection prone creature from the Evil Boy video thrusting about in the background, Die Antwoord showed themselves to be an all-encompassing freak show – one you just can’t look away from, and one you don’t want to look away from either.
They are highly sexualised characters, displaying a more warped side to what is sexy and appealing, fervently rapping tongue- in- cheek, socially connected lyrics and are so doused in a funky concoction of popular culture, Afrikaans and zef, that they are quite frankly one of the most interesting groups to emerge in a while. And let’s face it, they turned down a tour with Lady Gaga – quoted as saying her music was “weak, superficial shit” – so it is evident that Die Antwoord are highly aware of the music they produce and the impact it has. Although they are an overnight sensation, they had enough integrity to leave their Interscope record deal to release their second album TEN$ION on their own to avoid becoming too mainstream, which was Interscope’s apparent wishful direction.
As Fatty Boom Boom came on, Yo-Landi had changed into her popular and well-worn gold leggings (also from the Evil Boy clip) and metallic puffer jacket. She wiggled her gold plated bum, twisted her arms around to the music and gyrated from one side of the stage to the other. Ninja appeared in his Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon boxers (from the Beat Boy clip), the most suitable attire for him to flop his genitals around in and crowd surf some more.
Ninja took some time to chat to the crowd too, opening the conversation with “Shut up, fuckers”. He let everyone in attendance know that he was into rapping ions ago, back when he listened to NWA and the Beastie Boys. He was terribly excited to be in Australia again, so that he could recite his favourite Rodney Rude Christmas poem, complete with Aussie slang accent and extra emphasis on the cursing words, none of which I could possibly justify including in this sentence, as much as I may be tempted to. Finishing off his well- rehearsed colloquial monologue with an “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie”, “Oi, Oi, Oi!”, Die Antwoord plunged into Richie Rich, as Yo-Landi rolled her R’s and tossed her cropped pixie- punk ‘do, and sported black contact lenses.
Beat Boy was performed, much to the delight of the crowd, with Yo-Landi in nothing more than white Y- fronts and a crop top with a heart and the word ZEF in the middle of it. Getting down and dirty to her own style of dancing; Yo-Landi is an enigma. With her super petite form, she can switch from child-like angelic innocence to super sexual, talon wearing, punch-you-in-the-back-of-the-head type dominance. She is surprising and interesting to watch, as she switches from the two personas. Ninja on the other hand is a much more straight forward character, and the two share the stage well, yet never physically interact. Only through their vocals are the characters connected, feeding off each other as if telepathically in time with one another’s mind and tongue.
As the cartoon characters up on screen happily hold onto their enormous penises with elation, so too does the crowd arch up as Enter the Ninja is played, complete with choreographed moves from the film clip. Die Antwoord up the ante with their encore, as Yo-Landi emerged wearing the now well-known Pikachu costume, also featured in their I Fink U Freeky clip.
Despite finishing nearly half an hour before the running time had announced, Die Antwoord brought enough freaky, dirty, body popping beats to Melbourne for the crowds to be chuffed, considering they were actually here for the Future Music Festival and this was a mid- week side gig. There are so many layers and oddities to Die Antwoord, and I for one am happy to be led down the rabbit hole to find out exactly how far down, and twisted, it goes.