[intro-text size=”25px”]On Tuesday night, Die Antwoord brought their deliciously lewd sideshow to the House of Blues. If you’re unfamiliar with Die Antwoord, search YouTube for any one of their visually addictive, next level videos. Then I highly suggest you do yourself a favor and watch their Harmony Korine (“Kids,” “Spring Breakers”) directed, short film “Umshini Wam.”[/intro-text]
Their sound is acid-drenched rhymes accompanied by techno synths that roll over deep booty shaking bass; rap meets dance meets world music. Ninja, a self proclaimed ugly boy with enough cool and confidence to make you wish you could be just as ugly; and Yolandi, a tiny, pale, cutely demonic, gutter fairy that commands all of your attention, along with their screw face, Henchman, DJ Hi Tek, make up the South African act. It was Die Antwoord’s (The Answer in Afrikaans) first time in Cleveland, and while the show was sold out, I honestly have to wonder if they’d ever come back.
Now, before we get into the actual show, I must address the fact that it sold out rather quickly. However, it was not the fans that rushed to scoop up all the tickets but rather scalpers. One show-goer told me he paid $80 per ticket, when they were originally priced at $35. We all know how scalpers work… While it was an all ages show, I have to say that the average age of people there seemed to be around 27. I will also say, most of the time I am not a fan of the all ages events because then I just feel “too old” to be there. Still though, there was a youthful energy that seemed to be missing. I can’t help but to think the inflated price of the scalped tickets kept the kids away.
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[intro-text size=”13px”]photography by Jae Andres[/intro-text]
Thankfully, Die Antwoord had enough energy for the entire room and then some. They dimmed the lights early and let a build up of occult opera music play drawing out the anticipation. The wait was finally over when an image of some emaciated, shrunken headed lord took over the screen. Dj Hi Tek walked across his table and took his place behind the decks, as the ritualistic sounds grew louder and suddenly halted only to be proceeded by the happiest, out of left field, cartoony intro. The screen projected colorful Caspers (yes, the friendly ghost…the friendliest ghost you know) ejaculating from their disproportionate male parts. Ninja took the stage rocking a Pikachu onesie, while Yolandi and 2 masked dancers followed in pastel Kawaii styled ones.
The show went from 0 to 100 in mere seconds with costume changes between most songs, and Yolandi bouncing all over the stage, yelling to the sitters in the balcony to “Get the FOK UP!” Which lazily, they didn’t do. I say, if there is a tiny girl in red booty shorts with black out eyes telling you to “Get the Fok Up” in her high pitched, Afrikaan accent then you indeed need to Get the Fok Up!
The rat trap rave continued with Ninja giving the crowd a number of stage dives and more than a few looks at his bare ass. Yolandi was full of glorious, rough girl sex appeal, as she rhythmically matched her seductive backup dancers to a seemingly hypnotized crowd. They spit their way through a decent amount of songs from their 3 albums; some personal favorites were “Cookie Thumper,” “Fok Julle Naaiers,” and their encore of “Enter the Ninja.” I mean, it was a good show. Just good though… I’d heard of previous shows on the tour containing fights, hot girls stabbing annoying moshers, and a full frontal display by Ninja, and I have to say I was disappointed at how conservative the group seemed to be in comparison. Maybe they were playing to the crowd, you know, giving what they were getting? I mean there were some crowd surfers, and 1 flowery bra thrown. But I think it’s safe to say Cleveland did not leave a lasting impression on the internationally popular, Die Antwoord. There was definitely an energy missing that is present and thick when attending shows in “bigger” cities. I mean I was in the front, and not once was I pushed or even touched. No pushing, a PG amount of nudity, and I didn’t see anyone being carried out. Maybe the show was fine, and my expectations were too much, maybe I’ve just been to one too many rowdy shows; however, I feel like if I had to pay $80 a ticket, I’d be trying to do everything in my power to make sure I had an unforgettable time. On the flip side, when you’re $80 in on a Tuesday night, I’m not sure how much money is left in the budget for fun inducing substances. Look, I love Cleveland as much as the next local, but I just fear that we run the risk of missing out on more progressive acts coming through town if we can’t simply “GET THE FOK UP!”