It’s not surprising that directors like David Lynch and Harmony Korine have been frothing at the mouth to collaborate with Die Antwoord. Ever since their ‘Enter The Ninja’ video went viral in 2009, the Cape Town duo have developed a visual style which is as distinctive and provocative as ‘Eraserhead’, and the group’s main members Yolandi Visser and Ninja are easily as bizarre and remarkable as any of the characters in ‘Gummo’. The challenge for tonight, though, is whether or not they can recreate the mystique of their music videos live on stage…
After keeping the sold-out crowd in suspense for what feels like an eternity, Visser and Ninja, dressed in oversized orange jumpsuits, emerge onstage during DJ Hi-Tek’s extended intro. The entire venue reacts with an explosion of pure elation. From here, we’re treated to one of the most curious and dazzling events you could imagine. You could almost watch tonight’s show without any sound, as there’s always something inspiring to gawp at, be it a giant inflatable ghost with a boner, scantily clad dancers or the stage banners which features the words ‘Hi Charlie’ in tribute to the victims of the recent Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris. For Die Antwoord, it’s about more than just the music. It’s about the art – part parody, part sexual politics, all controversy – and the attitude.
That’s not to say Die Antwoord don’t sound incredible live. They do. Whilst on record their hybrid of Ibiza rave, 90s techno and American gangsta rap can get repetitive, in the live environment they sound fucking huge, as almost 5000 fans will attest to this evening. We’ve seen many shows at the Brixton Academy over the years, but it’s very rare to see the entire room jumping around – from the bar at the back to the safety barriers at the front – from the minute the headline band step foot on stage. Yet that’s the order of business from the moment Die Antwoord kick things off with Fok Julle Naaiers, through to bangers like Fatty Boom Boom and anthems like Baby’s On Fire. Set closer Enter The Ninja still remains their crowning moment, and the response it garners from the crowd is exceptional.
If you’re looking for a totally fresh and unique experience, you could do a lot worse than a Die Antwoord gig. In fact, you’d struggle to find a better show, in any genre. Utterly bonkers. Totally brilliant.
**Die Antwoord – Live at the Brixton Academy, London, January 17, 2015 **Photos: Alison Clarke