Die Antwoord are one of those groups that are like Marmite – you either love them or hate them. It took two years for this writer to formulate an opinion, or to actually ‘get’ what they were all about.
It is a certainty that a lot of artists who tend to divide opinion are often criticised on unprecedented levels, in regards to style, substance, and longevity. So it is with great pleasure to report, that Die Antwoord have beyond exceeded these expectations, on a critical and personal level.
The group are currently embarking on their ‘Fuck Da World Tour’, which is in support of last year’s critically acclaimed album Donker Mag, which further displays Die Antwoord’s levels of surrealism, art, music, and culture. So as a journalist who has never seen D.A. before, there was a lot of expectation to meet on this stop of their tour, when they landed at the legendary Brixton Academy in London.
The venue has been sold out for months now, and the crowd is populated with the most diverse and vast amounts of oddballs, freaks, and outcasts from all music cultures. That in no way is a bad thing, because it is evident that Die Antwoord unashamedly represent everything that is against the norm, and that is why these people love them. And if anything, the crowd are quite frankly beautiful in that respect.
But then Die Antwoord hit the stage, the outrageously muscly DJ Hi-Tek opens up with ‘DJ Hi-Tek Rulez’, and then of course the eccentric Ninja and the twistedly beautiful Yolandi Visser come out to the hip-hop ridden tune of ‘Fok Julle Naaeirs’, which the crowd immediately gets their groove going.
The stage production is awesome, set up in UV colours with a multimedia backdrop of their previous videos and other recorded visuals, with a background of black and white graffiti – which is also displayed on the front of the DJ booth. Another great part of Die Antwoord’s stage show which does seem to go highly under the radar, is the inclusion of the two dancers and their dance choreography that they on occasion include Yolandi Visser with as well. It all adds to what feels like an underground rave in the UK during the acid rave era of the early 90s, mixed with an exotic yet perverse post-apocalyptic street carnival.
Die Antwoord consistently deliver a high energy and often highly amusing set full of crazy dance moves, crowd interaction, and at times some rather impressive stage diving! But with a catalogue of great tunes that are elevated on to another plain in the live environment, particularly with such tunes like ‘Fatty Boom Boom’, ‘Pitbull Terrier’, ‘Baby’s On Fire’, and ‘I Fink U Freeky’ (which the crowd went absolutely berserk), you cannot help but truly appreciate and immerse yourself in to the weird and wonderful world of Die Antwoord, where quite literally anyone and everyone is invited, and will be greeted with open arms – no matter how crazy you are.
It is fair to say that Die Antwoord are most definitely an acquired taste, but to really appreciate them and understand them, you need to see them live. It does not matter whether you like them or not, if you ever get a chance to really see for yourself just what they are capable of then please just have a day off, and throw yourself in to that crowd. Ultimately, whether you like it or not, you will be a convert to Zef. And this writer certainly is appreciate of finally getting what it is all about. Sheer morbid excellence!