The lights go out and the crowd roars. On the projection screen, the face of Leon Botha, who passed away in 2011, peers out to the crowd, blinking from time to time. An ominous Gregorian chant filled the Electric Factory Friday night, implying something quite dark and sinister was about to unfold. DJ Hi-Tek took the stage, then Yo-Landi Vi$$er and Ninja took the stage in florescent jump suits, hoods up and the show began.
Considering Die Antwoord was just in Philly and played a sold out show three months ago, you would think the crowd would considerably downsize. But quite the opposite, the costume make up clad and off-the-wall outfits, including a shimmering tiger suit by one fan, filled the floor for the duo’s performance.
It’s important to know and Antwoord show is artistic like Kanye’s performances tries to be, minus the mind numbing rants. The duo could easily rival each other for number of costume changes and on stage theatrics, as well as who could top who in feeding the crowd more of their character. While Ninja chose to stare down the crowd with his ugly mug and stage dive repeatedly, Yo-Landi decided to baptize the crowd with her spit. It’s a maniacal orgy of sex, hip thrusts, rule breaking and body-trembling rap-rave beats.
Die Antwoord continues to support their third full-length release since their first in 2010, Donker Mag. The album can be a bit of a whiplash from time to time, like strange transitions between the interludes and heavy bass club anthems. The title track itself, “Donker Mag”, is a change in pace for the duo in both tempo and overall sing-songy nature.
“Happy Go Sucky Fucky” proved to be the song of the night, whipping the crowd into hysteria. The song has a few perfect moments between Die Antwoord and the crowd where everyone yells “fuck your rules” over and over. They chanted together with so much vehemence, it became less about the words themselves but the way it made them feel, vagrant and in control.
“Cookie Thumper!”, much like “Baby’s On Fire”, is not only an infectious song boiling over with her own spin on the sexual deviancies of hardcore rap, but it is the time Yo-Landi dominates the stage. Yo-Landi, accompanied by two chameleonic dancers, showcased her fast spit and her effortless aptitude for sexual mystique.
Dawning the deformed, pit bull terrier mask over his face, Ninja prowled the stage like a caged animal for “Pitbull Terrier”. Ninja wearing the mask is like someone ripping the scariest creature of your nightmares, humanizing it and throwing it up on stage…it’s terrifying. The crowd seemed a little hesitant to catch him that time as he dove over the pit and into the crowd for the third or fourth time. The song itself teems with intimidation, which is not only the point but works perfectly with Ninjas encroaching demeanor.
Die Antwoord cut some slices out in their set for some tracks off of Ten$ion (2012). “DJ Hi-Tek Rules”, an anal track of DJ Hi-Tek’s very own, instigated more chanting along from the hardcore rap-craving crowd. “Baby’s On Fire” also took it’s turn, producing a ripple effect amongst the sardine-packed, sweaty, jumping crowd.
Die Antwoord’s demented identities are the whole picture of the group. If it was, they wouldn’t have made it to Ten$ion. The sinister nature of their songs and the defiling beats dig deeper into each of the sexual and social fantasies the crowd might normally hide. On Friday night at the Electric Factory, Die Antwoord empowered the crowd to release themselves in ways they are often told not to. Die Antwoord is artistic in their ability to transcend.