I know that this is going to be one of those unpopular opinion pieces but YOLO and IDGAF. Die Antwoord is a really big thing right now. They’re funny, high energy and oh so fucking strange. Everyone either adores them or doesn’t understand them. Prior to their concert at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, BC on May 22, 2014, I was in the former category. I appreciated their freshness and tongue in cheek manner with which they approach their unique brand of “Zef” style rap. However, I am now unsure as to what to think of Die Antwoord and allow me to explain why.
I travel frequently to see shows – I spend good sums of money to see concerts and I will admit that I’ve seen everything and am quite the concert snob. I appreciate a good crowd, good sound, high energy act, and fun times and I didn’t find any of those at Die Antwoord. The crowd at the Commodore was intensely aggressive. From the moment we walked in, people were far too wasted to the point of being sloppy, high as fuck on the white liquor and just generally being aggro. I was not able to walk anywhere without someone body checking me, dumping drinks on me or being yelled at to watch where I was going. I had a girl try to fight me over a spot at the bar and despite all that I turned a happy face to the opening act – a local DJ who was fairly generic and I was content enough to people watch. So the doors opened at 8:00pm, and the opening act played til 11:05pm. That’s a crazy long time for an opening act and especially one that was generic as fuck and relied on hype statements over shitty bass drops “who loves Molly”? Apparently not many people because everyone was far too coked out to worry about peace and love. When Die Antwoord took the stage it was 11:10pm and they played for 55mins. Of course I was excited to see this act that I had followed for so long, but the performance was half hearted at best. Ninja listlessly humped at the air and occasionally dropped “BC” over his tired sounding raps. Yo-Landi orbited around him shaking her desirable body in barely there clothing and acted as the eye candy. Yo-Landi is this fascinating creature to me – preternaturally beautiful and with a voice like Sheri Moon Zombie. Unfortunately, that voice is the result of a shitload of Autotune. I was not entirely sure at first, but her flinging her microphone to the ground and her vocal track continuing without problems proved to me that she was lip syncing her performance. Perhaps not all of it, but enough. Now, I’m a little old school when it comes to music – I think that if singing is your job, you should be actually doing it and not miming along Milli Vanilli style to a track. I feel this is even more important with alternative acts – and yet, here we were. Yes Die Antwoord is an act, and that’s what they were doing. Acting. I was thoroughly disgusted and did not enjoy the show. It was a neat thing to see but for me when I put up my hard earned cash to see a show, I want to see a real performance and not some half assed cash grab. Forcing the crowd to endure a shitty sub par DJ for two hours with the intention of making a killing in drink sales is just shitty on behalf of the promoter and venue and to pay a good chunk of cash to see a band for 50 minutes is also not acceptable when the show is half assed. If you’ve got a short set and people have put up their dollars to see you, you better bring out the big guns and give them what they came for. I saw Ghost open for Mastodon and Opeth and they played for 35 minutes and conducted a full black mass and I could have left the show happy with that performance alone. So either sack up or pack up and my advice to concert goers debating on catching Die Antwoord is to save your pennies, buy some booze and put on a Die Antwoord album. It’s about the same.
Until next time spooky kids, support your local music scene, go to metal shows, don’t pay for lip synced garbage and always stay spooky.