Review // Die Antwoord // Feb 19 2012
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.