Pitchfork’s recent review of Die Antwoord’s new second album, Ten$ion, is pretty scathing. The 4.2/10 rating is accompanied by words mostly going on about the emptiness of the lyrics and failed attempts at irony or relevance. In a purely analytical sense, I agree with pretty much everything in the piece. However, much as with the first album, I can’t help but love it. I had to see this sordid display in person.
The night began pretty lamely. I got to 930 club about an hour after opening due to metro track work and a bit of a late start, but it seems I didn’t miss anything. The opening act was some DJ who I don’t even care to look up because all he did was play samples of hip-hop and EDM songs I’d never heard. I’m just not accustomed to that and didn’t enjoy it at all. It didn’t help that he was on stage for another one and a half hours, and then Die Antwoord didn’t come on stage until 10. Of course once they finally showed up, it made the wait well worthwhile.
One of the more entertaining parts of the trio’s presentation is the visual aspect, which until now I only really knew from their videos. I love Yolandi’s freakish sex appeal and Ninja’s wiry, nerdy aggression, and the many faces of DJ Hi-Tek give the band a bit of mystery to their façade. All these elements were on intense display last night. The two front-people went through several flashy outfits throughout their set, and their movements were constantly energetic.
As for the music, it pretty much as powerful as on the albums. Although I kind of fail to see the point of including the DJ aside from maintaining the character, there were some slight differences here and there. Of course Yolandi and Ninja couldn’t replicate their vocal performances perfectly but they did with tons of vigor and the volume made up for the loss in production quality. Yolandi’s voice in particular often brought back memories of my last concert experience with Blood Ceremony’s flautist.
I think they mostly stuck to songs from Ten$ion, but they did hit a bunch of the great ones from $O$ and ended the show with Beat Boy and Enter the Ninja, which were both pretty bangin’. It was about an hour all told, which was alright with me as it allowed me to catch the metro before it closed.
This was my first rave show, and my second hip-hop show, although my first was MC Lars so I don’t think it really counts. Definitely a new experience for me. I didn’t really participate much aside from a bit of head-banging (what else is a metalhead to do?), but I think I got the drift. Probably not going to attend many similar things. Unless it’s Die Antwoord again.