At first glance, it may seem odd for a Gothic music site to review Die Antwoord but attend one of their shows and the similarities in music and aesthetics quickly become apparent. Ninja and Yolandi have drawn in fans from all walks of life with their rap rave artistry. Almost every alternative girl I know adores Yolandi for one reason or another; be it her cute baby-girl charms, to her often bizarre fashion and makeup, to her 'I will fu*k you up if you mess with me attitude.' Yolandi could be seen as one of the most influential figures in modern times towards women's' liberation and freedom to both be who ever the hell they want and more importantly have the freedom to do so as barriers of ignorance are taken down with the music Die Antwoord produce.
Traditionally Rap has always been at odds with the alternative world causing a normalized ignorance and sometimes aggressive attitude towards Gothic culture. The interesting thing here is though, that no matter how much Ninja and Yolandi sing about not caring what people think, they are having a rather positive and opposite effect. Ninja plays the hardcore gangster that respects no rules and yet, respect toward others and ourselves seems to be the unwritten rule behind the madness. I approached the band for an interview and mentioned whether they knew that they had such a huge fan base in the UK from all of the different sub-genres of alternative culture here, unfortunately the band has remained rather quiet recently over several pieces of drama and I hope the band pulls through stronger for it. I wish them the best in coping with any backlashes they are dealing with at present.
Never before have I seen such a mixed crowd to prove my above point. I saw dozens of individuals representing yet dozens more types of cultures and music tastes. The band truly has an incredible way of bringing people together and I hope it is a gift that they are aware of. In the city of tolerance, I saw just that, tolerance and love toward all peoples. Die Antwoord means 'The answer' and when it comes to peace, love, and a damn good time, they are just that.
The atmosphere before the band came on was absolutely electric having been warmed up by the rather risque' Moonchild Sanelly. The UV reflective stage gave way to constant audience collective screams from the tiniest sound or movement backstage showing just how anticipated this sold out show had been. When the show started, it started in true over the top style. The light bloomed to blinding white, followed shortly by the screen being filled with mushroom clouds, and finally DJ Hi Tek annihilating the stage as he spun the music up on a now dazed and confused, yet ecstatic crowd.
The three up-close images are by Natasha Hababou
Ninja and Yolandi blew the crowd away time after time with each song, seeming never to stop with their incredibly intense, high energy show. The band were joined not only by DJ Hi tek but by the singer of moonchild, and several dancers who helped sing during super fast costume changes. The visuals were a well thought out and wonderfully artistic expression of the bands personas and sense of humour. Ninja Jumped head first in to the crowd many a time much to the dismay of stage security! So this really was a crowd pleasing show where the rave beats were strong, heavy, and constant.
In return for this amazing show, the crowd reciprocated with an energy I have rarely seen before. Almost every word was sung at the top of the audiences' lungs. They didn't even need to encourage the crowd to participate, if they threw the mike towards the audience to sing a word or line, believe me it was already being sung at peak volume and I can't begin to describe the wave of bodies at the foot of the stage I saw from my front row balcony seat swell like a freak ocean wave when the song 'I fink u freaky' broke down in to 'jump motherfu*ker jump!' When Yolandi, Ninja, and Hi tek all took a spotlight and a knee, the applause and calls of the crowd were unceasing. It felt like they stayed in that respectful bow for a long time and yet the intensity of the love being showed for them only grew louder.
All in all this was an incredible performance well worth the time and money taken to see it. I only wish I was able to have see them play Download festival just before this show as well. In fact it is again testament to the band that even though it is understandable for goths who are in to their synthetic beats and rave style music to like them, that even the metal heads of the UK welcome what many would have considered anathema to metal music before Die Antwoord turned the tables. (Bad pun)
If you ever have a chance to see them then do so, they are bucket list material. For those of you unfamiliar with their music, go change that right now and listen to songs like... I fink u freaky, happy go sucky fu*ky, and daddy. In fact they have such an influence that for the first time in my life I bought something that wasn't black, white, or camo...
Finally. A huge, huge thank you to the band for performing in the UK again!
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