Die Antwoord - Live At Beach Goth 2015: Review
Mon, 07 Dec 2015 17:33:27
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(October 25th 2015, Santa Ana, CA) In an early interview with South Africa's News24, Die Antwoord's Ninja said, "If you love it we love you too, and if you hate it, it's because you are not on my level" (to which partner Yo-Landi Vi$$er chimed in, "It's just because you are a poes, really"). Since then, the South African rave-rap group who also include producer DJ Hi-Tek and travelling DJ Vuilgeboost, have clearly gained a huge number of followers the world over.
The question now with Die Antwoord's rising fame is: have Die Antwoord brought their "zef" style down a level in order to cater to different types of fans, or has the powerful juggernaut that is Yo-Landi, Ninja and DJ Hi-Tek brought huge numbers of fans up to their musical and energetic level? From the group's performance at Beach Goth 4 in Santa Ana, CA, the answer is clear: everyone in the 5000+ crowd came up to the level with Die Antwoord. It was impossible not to be.
Beach Goth is a sort of Frankenstein festival which began in 2011 by local-to-Orange-County beachy psycho-lounge group, The Growlers. Since its inception, the festival has brought diverse bands and crowds to the Observatory in Santa Ana, and this year was no exception. Along with The Growlers and Die Antwoord were the likes of Parliament Funkadelic (sans Clinton), Sir Mix-A-Lot, Eagles of Death Metal and Mac DeMarco.
Die Antwoord played on the Sunday of the weekend-long festival, and though their set was just under an hour, there were three costume changes and alround 15 songs. Ninja, predictably, spent the longest sub-set in his famous Pink Floyd fractal shorts. The set was surprisingly heavy on singles from the group's first album, $O$. The album was originally released on Cherry Tree records in 2009 and was mostly done in Afrikaans, but the re-release on Interscope was more English-dominant. The set opened with the full Afrikaans versions of "Fokk Julle Naaiers (F*** You Motherf***ers)" from second album Ten$ion and "Wat Kyk Jy (What Are You Looking At)?" from the original $O$. Even more surprisingly, the crowd knew all the lyrics to these two largely Afrikaans singles.
During one of Ninja and Yo-Landi's costume changes, DJ Vuilgeboost debuted a new song which doesn't have vocals yet, a very ravey tune with no name. After that, more Ten$ion hits with "I Fink U Freeky," "Baby's on Fire" and the controversial "Fatty Boom Boom." Before the second change, Ninja ask the crowd if the daughter he and Yo-Landi have together, Sixteen Jones, could come out and dance in her pajamas. The crowd of course, obliged, and Sixteen showed her 10-year-old performance chops to be as good as her parents'.
The last segment of the show was a mélange, beginning with "Ugly Boy" and "Happy Go Sucky F***y" off Die Antwoord's most recent album, Donker Mag (Dark Power). The latter is a fiercely anti-establishment anthem for which the crowd, mostly under 21, went rabid. Ten$ion's lyricless "Never le Nkmise 2 (You Can't Stop me trans. From Zulu)" was the apparent finale to the set With its beautiful house-then-dubstep-then-house beat, it's one of Hi-Tek's musical triumphs. This ending would have left the crowd completely satisfied, but to everyone's surprise and delight, an encore brought everyone rushing back for Die Antwoord's first-ever hit, "Enter the Ninja." Sixteen came onstage again and did the "butterfly" dance with her mother. The group's friend and collaborator, Leon Botha, was honored on the screen behind the group as the song he helped make famous with his art was performed.
Die Antwoord seemed to be having a great time during their Beach Goth performance, and their antics brought the crowd in on the fun. Yo-Landi pantsed Ninja at least twice (he pantsed himself at the very end) and Ninja staged dived and crowd surfed a number of times without missing a beat on his rhymes, finishing the show with a running swan dive into the crowd. He applauded his fans and thanked them a number of times for their energy. Yo-Landi signed off with her usual "be happy" goodbye.
The mark of great musicians and, indeed, great performers is their ability to take listeners and fans to the emotional, and in Die Antwoord's case, spiritual place where they can all play and relate together. The "level" at which Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$er and DJ Hi-Tek vibrate originally may have seemed too much for some, but Die Antwoord have been relentless and steadfast in both their artistic vision; what they have called from the beginning "The Answer." The dividends this perseverance has paid are not only monetary, as was exemplified during this extraordinary set at Beach Goth. For one hour, thousands of people were on Die Antwoord's level, brought up from wherever they had previously been, and it was beautiful to behold.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff
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