Die Antwoord at the Ogden Theatre, Nov. 7 (photos and review) - Reverb

Die Antwoord at the Ogden Theatre, Nov. 7 (photos and review)

Shock value is the music industry equivalent of job security. Just ask Marilyn Manson or Madonna.

Inspired by the Zef counter-culture movement in South Africa, Die Antwoord has found a way to breed similar success out of outlandish onstage shenanigans.

This reverie has elevated the rave duo into top-billing in the U.S. and has subsequently made them a busy troupe stateside. On Wednesday night at the Ogden Theatre as part of “Sonar On Tour,” the flashy impresarios made their second stop in Denver since August — proving that while fame is fleeting, it is nonetheless fiscally sacred.

Beyond their flamboyant stage presence, all else is generic. The least impressive part of their act is the inept rap style. “Diz Iz Why I’m Hot” is an overloaded spoof of thug-rhymes turned gimmicky bombast. “Fatty Boom Boom” does similar injustice; giving the duo’s grab at street-cred a wayward dose of M.I.A.-inspired production.

The band’s grimey gutter-punk appeal is the only real entertainment quotient at hand that is worth absorption. Lead-vocalists Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er are powder-coated with a thick grain of spite and disorder — which is a spectacle. The duo dresses like ’80s pop figurines and sing and rap like they’ve huffed helium (Ninja did indulge in some mid-set oxygen to help combat the altitude).

Later on, “Baby’s On Fire” and “I Fink U Freeky” provided more circus theatrics and worked to raise the level of artistry as DJ Hi-Tek wove a spiderweb of techno power-pop. On these tracks, Vi$$er’s high-pitched rap vocals proved irresistible wrapped in a syncopated counterstep. For fans, the underlying sex candy of her performance was also a bewitching sight. But for those looking for musical enlightenment, it was merely a sideshow.

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Kris K. Coe is a freelance writer, Denver-native, and regular contributor to Reverb.

Michael McGrath is a Denver area photographer. His work is available at Twist and Shout Records. Visit his website.

  • iago_agogo

    Ummm….I think you’ve missed the point of their act. It is an act, not just music. Pop music is for entertainment, not cultural enlightenment. This is not serious stuff. Die Antwoord is the freshest, most colorful and entertaining pop act to come out in years. Enjoy it for what it is and don’t look for deep meaning. All pop music has a shelf life as their music does too. But, funny thing, reviewers like you have been forcasting the demise of the band and calling it a flash in the pan for the last three years. But they keep coming up with better and better material and a more engaging show each time they return. “They may be vile and pernicious, but you can’t look away” (Frank Z quote).

    • kriskcoe

      I’m not forecasting demise, I’m forecasting certain longevity. Heck, I compared them to Madonna and Manson (they’ve racked in millions over a couple decades). I know it’s not serious stuff — I just wish it was. Thx for reading!

  • redwood

    Not sure what show you saw, but their set was one of the best hours I’ve spent at a live show in years! Try not to take yourself so seriously. They’re super fun!

    • kriskcoe

      I’ll go see Ali G perform if I want to laugh. He probably raps better. Thx for reading!

  • Mike Yellen

    They rap like the characters they play. They are a caricature of pop music. The music is stupid because to them pop music is stupid. It’s actually a pretty brilliant way to critique music, as I’ve never seen anyone do it before. It’s performance art, not simply music.