Review // Die Antwoord // Feb 19 2012

Commodore Ballroom

For EXCLAIM! MAGAZINE

Die Antwoord have been attracting their fair share of attention for the group’s provocative music videos that lend themselves nothing short of viral. The Cape Town originals (whose band name means “the answer” in Afrikaans) boast some of the strangest hip-hop this side of the Northern Hemisphere. With their gritty, Kafka-esque lyrical style and their beat-delivering prowess, they proved to be the best response to a rather grim-looking Vancouver weekend.

The city’s Expendable Youth DJs started off the evening with some turntable delights as the Commodore began to fill with an anticipatory audience, some of which even dressed to resemble DA’s frontman Ninja. While a popular DJ set was not exactly the most appropriate way to usher in an evening of musical weirdness, the Mad Decent team managed to deliver a solid string of catchy dance tunes and smart mash-ups.

Wearing a rather terrifying mask, DJ Hi-Tek began Die Antwoord’s set by baiting the crowd, repeatedly spinning out the threatening slogan that he’d “fuck you in the ass,” while flashes of Die Antwoord music videos revealed a sinister theme. It was almost sensory overload when Ninja (Watkin Tudor Jones) and Yo-Landi Vi$$er (Yolandi Visser) finally exploded onto the stage wearing bright orange sweatsuits for “Fok Julle Naaiers.” Unified by their performance and onstage charisma, the unlikely trio formed a nuclear-type family unit in the strangest way imaginable. No stranger to the notion of being “eye popping,” Visser showed off her midriff, her eyes two black pools, coming off as both terrifying and strangely attractive.

While focusing on delivering rhythms and tunes from their newest offering TEN$ION, the group played some more vintage favourites as well, such as “Beat Boy” and the huge crowd pleaser “Enter the Ninja,” one of their most notorious tracks. With the intent of fully staggering the crowd, Die Antwoord blazed the stage and hit the sweet spot with their blistering rendition of “I Fink U Freeky,” effectively delivering one of the strangest songs in their arsenal.

Gritty, real and yet somehow fantastical, Die Antwoord’s surreal blend of hip-hop, trashy pop culture references and brazen methodology make them one of the most unbelievable acts around, on record and especially live from the stage.

TO BE A JOURNALIST…

 

Being a journalist is probably the second best life I could have chosen for myself—a close second behind a sex goddess rock star in a successful indie band—but sometimes that’s just how it goes. I don’t often regret choosing this field, although in the last few months, the faith in my decision has riddled with self-doubt and frustration.

Journalism is the ultimate lifestyle choice for someone who is indecisive, easily bored, restless for adventure and genuinely interested in learning more about the world and the people that inhabit it. This has always been my thought process, my habit, my experience.

I’ve met some truly amazing and fascinating people in the last few years as a journalist. I’ve talked to musicians like Grahm Zilla and John Oswald about the importance of remix music and the bullshit of corporatizing culture. I’ve talked to Beach House about the joys of late night MacGyver reruns. I’ve talked to scientists who have figured out evolutionary fitness by studying yeasts. Did you know that if all the microscopic bacteria in the world died, the human race and all other life forms as we know it would be wiped out in a matter of days? Pff, yeah.

The joys of music journalism are truly far-reaching, especially when you’ve got a press pass and free rein to film, photograph and meet all your heroes. My memory often takes me to a moment shared with me by colleague of mine, Sarah Berman. She was at a show in Vancouver filming a concert for SPINearth when a girl in the audience shoved her violently, compromising her video capture. On the film you distinctly hear Sarah defend herself, and say “Fuck off, I’m with SPIN, bitch,” making the girl cower and leave the spot. Who wouldn’t work for free with these kinds of moments?

Emily Haines (from Metric) and I, Virgin Music Festival, 2009

I moved to the UK for a few reasons, the main one being a boy, and another that I wanted to establish myself as a multimedia journalist on the international scene. Over the last three months, I’ve applied to no less than 50 jobs with little more success than a promise of an interview at some tentative, future date. Journalism apparently, is one of the most exclusive middle-class professions, with everyone having to pay their dues as newsroom slaves, often working for free and having to kiss up to those at the top. While I’m more than happy to work pro bono for a publication that merits my talents, the latter portion of this right-of-passage, so to speak, doesn’t play favourably for me. My patience for arrogance has completely dwindled. I’m not up for it anymore.

It’s not easy to make it as a journalist. With newspapers and agencies cutting jobs and budgets, with the rise of citizen journalism, the advent of social media and not to mention, the dangers of international conflict reporting, trying to distinguish yourself is a war in and of itself.

That being said, I’m going to keep trying. This is a life I want. Once you’ve made up your mind to walk the earth and document everything you’ve seen, in script form, with poignant nut grafs pointing to some universal truths about the human experience, there’s no going back.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 5 fully loaded ships.

 

In 2010, there were 51 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 137 posts. There were 150 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 59mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 24th with 636 views. The most popular post that day was DJ Heroes vs. Stephen Harper.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, google.com, en.wordpress.com, and search.aol.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for turducken, arctic monkeys, marla singer, aphex twin, and new ninja video.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

DJ Heroes vs. Stephen Harper December 2009

2

The new Ninja Video… Re1ease July 2010
7 comments

3

five favourite femme fatales in film January 2009

4

Lucie Idlout’s ‘Swagger’ sounds like trailer park music January 2009

5

2009 Hell’s Kitchen!!!! October 2009
1 comment

Sonic unions and personal soundtracks: An analysis of popular music in Skins

A paper I’ve submitted for publication in The Soundtrack

To delineate the functions of music as a cinematic-acoustic tool is clearly a complex task. In this particular investigation, we must examine how the states of consciousness of teenagers unfold in accordance to personal and individual soundtracks, enveloping a critical area as wide in scope as human emotion itself. Rather than viewing the use of the popular soundtrack as either a way to sell singles or a certain “MTV aesthetic,” the British drama television series Skins pulls together various kinds of popular music to create very significant points of personal and social revelation in several different ways. Through the use of punk, trip hop and lo-fi montages, the pop soundscape functions to illustrate moments of confidence, sexual promiscuity and social nihilism, in accordance to several characters’ mental states and social circumstances during critical times. As this paper explores, the popular soundtrack evolves alongside the characters’ points of view, through dismebodiment, mental disturbance and a David Lynch-inspired diegetic strangeness.

Skins is a popular television series that explores the lives of college students in Bristol. The central characters range from various socio-economic backgrounds, but the series delves into topics such as drug use, sexual relationships, family hardships, infidelity, mental illness and even death. Narratively, each episode is based around the life situation of an individual character, or a relationship between two. In this way, each episode acts as a mise-en-scene for the season as a whole, and as all the relationships are intertwined, the finale weaves a narrative symphony for their social circle as a collective.

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