Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Die Antwoord at the Fillmore – A Concert Review

     The South African rap band Die Antwoord (Afrikaans for "The Answer") rolled into the Fillmore last night. It was a spectacle. Despite having a setlist that has undergone only minimal change since 2012, their show was an instant sellout and the ticket resale value was significantly greater than the norm (the face value was $30 plus the “convenience” fee of $12, while the Stubhub resale cost was around $120).
     The word for the night was “odd,” as in "out of the ordinary." It was odd that there wasn’t an opening band. Typically, shows at the Fillmore have at least one opening band. And typically, if a concert at some venue has only one performer, that performer has a long setlist, rather than the standard fifteen to twenty songs. Our best recollection of last night’s setlist is pasted below. 

     It was odd that a band that is about to release a new album ("Donker Mag" drops on June 3) relied so heavily on its older material. No complaints, since the established songs were the ones the attendees wanted to hear. It was just odd that Die Antwoord didn’t take the opportunity to promote the upcoming album more.
     And the mixture of concert-goers was odd. There were people dressed appropriately for a performance by an ex-American Idol performer, and an equal number of people who appeared to have arrived from some exotic part of the music world (or elsewhere). In this post, we embedded some pictures from last night. But it would have been more interesting to take pictures of attendees as they exited after the performance. 
     Interestingly, it was not a night of mosh pits. Yes, there were more stranger-to-stranger collisions than usual. Still, the contact was aggressive, but not overly aggressive. The show started late – it was scheduled to begin at 8:00. In actuality, it was a little after 9:00, an extra 45 minutes beyond the fifteen minute delay that is the standard at the Fillmore.

     Once the performance began, the journey had very few rest stops. The two main performers are Watkin Tudor Jones (a.k.a. "Ninja") and Anri Du Toit (a.k.a. "Yo-Landi Vi$$er"). The third member is the DJ, who is typically DJ Hi-Tek, but DJ Vuilgeboost steps in during live performances. The focus was on the charismatic Yo-Landi and on Ninja.
     Very early in the set, Ninja hurled himself into the attendees with an insufficient amount of warning. While startling, the density of people close to the stage was so great that there was plenty of room for error. That is, Ninja’s weight was easily distributed among a large number of people. Later, Ninja finished a song with a long pause that we assume was intended to allow concert goers to admire his body. Still later, Ninja returned from an offstage trip wearing only shorts having a Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon" theme. He made sure everyone saw them and Yo-landi even mentioned them, but there was no explanation why. They were the same shorts he wore during the 2012 Die Antwoord performance at the Outside Lands Festival. Odd.

      However, while there are plenty of aspects of a Die Antwoord performance that are fairly described as “odd,” it’s Yo-Landi who makes the experience “unique.” She has the appearance of a person in the later part of her teens and the voice of a person in the early part of her teens. Yo-landi doesn’t share her actual age, but the best guesses peg her at about 30 years old. She and Ninja have a daughter (named Sixteen), who is nine year old. Yo-landi is worth the price of admission, even if you pay the Stubhub fee.

Embedded below is a recording of Die Antwoord's 2012 visit to David Letterman, an explicit Soundcloud version of "Baby's on Fire," and the setlist (with some uncertainty). 

 "Baby's on Fire"

The setlist:
1. DJ Hi-Tek Rulez
2. Fok Julle Naaiers
3. Wat kyk jy?
4. Wat Pomp?
5. Hey Sexy
6. Fatty Boom Boom
7. Raging Zef Boner
8. Rich Bitch
9. Cookie Thumper!
10. Pitbull Terrier  
11. $copie
12. Beat Boy / Evil Boy
13. Baby's on Fire
14. I Fink U Freeky
15. Donker Mag
16. Never Le Nkemise 2

17. Enter the Ninja

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