Photo booth at Die Antwoord… via Photo Peddler
This Halloween I was beyond stoked to celebrate with Die Antwoord. Last night at the Congress Theater in Logan Square The line-up that kicked off the North American tour of Barcelona music festival Sonar on Tour was an odyssey through cutting-edge electronica. When I was trying to explain to my coworkers who Die Antwoord are and about the other musicians playing with Sonar on Tour, they said “it sounds like you’re just stringing along vowels and speaking jibberish.” With names like Gesaffelstein, Seth Troxler, Azari & III, Paul Kalkenbrenner and Tiga, I can see why, especially if you only listen to the radio and aren’t familiar with the deeply diverse world of electronica. And I’m totally the girl (in a ditzy voice) who’s like “wait, isn’t Lana Del Rey an H&M model? You mean she’s actually a musician? I thought that was just a cover for her modeling/fashion gigs…” God, it’s been ages since I’ve listened to the radio and I don’t have cable TV, so… yeah. Pop culture music and me parted ways before President Obama was elected and have yet to reunite. Oh, Azari & III was the most impressive of the openers and I can’t wait to catch a full show from them next time they’re in town – if you’ve never heard of them you should definitely check out their work. Watching them perform – DANCE – is incredible.
courtesy Soundfuse Magazine
I’ll be honest, the reason I went to Sonar on Tour was to see Die Antwoord – who I first saw live at Lollapalooza this summer. You either love them or you hate them. There is no lukewarm fanbase of “eh, I listen to them because they’re on the radio…” NO. I don’t think Yo-Landi or Ninja are physically capable of going longer than 30 seconds without dropping an f-bomb. The radio play would be a sterilized version that completely destroys the [delightfully] vile lyrics, which celebrate the South African subculture Zef. Since I don’t listen to the radio I don’t know if there is a “family friendly” version of Enter the Ninja, but it just wouldn’t be the same…
What’s Zef? Watch this video:
I love Die Antwoord. I love that they told their record label, Interscope Records, to “fuck off” (their words, not mine) when music executives attempted to interfere with their creative expression and lyrics. You know, to package them. Clearly they’re doing something right and are more than able to package themselves without having all their edges filed off… Without the edges there is no Die Antwoord, you know? I love that they wholeheartedly embrace their art. It’s inseparable. They’ve created an entire universe from the infectiously catchy rap-rave music to the childlike scrawled imagery reminiscent of Keith Haring. Die Antwoord has such an unusual point-of-view. I think it’s the rawness that people (including myself) find magnetic. Thankfully they’re shrewd enough to realize that’s why people are drawn to them, and to water their aesthetic down to sell records at Walmart, well that’d just be plain ol’ selling out.
courtesy Soundfuse Magazine
Their Halloween show didn’t disappoint. The high-energy pair energized the crowd by screaming “Chicago” repeatedly throughout the performance, whipping the crowd into an oscillating frenzy. Rather than describe the blow-by-blow of each song I’ll just say this – they played all of my favorite songs, crowd surfed, engaged in profane stage antics and generally raised hell. I danced my ass off and had a blast. What more can a girl ask for on Halloween?