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Live Review: Die Antwoord

5 March 2015 | 11:39 am | Holly Keys

Die Antwoord were thumping in Melbourne.

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Die Antwoord bring their nightmarish breed of rap-rave to a sold-out crowd at Trak Lounge Bar, terrifying and exciting everyone there.

Yolandi Visser and Ninja storm the stage, wearing their signature black contact lenses, and have us in the palm of their hand from the get-go. They send everyone wild with Ugly Boy, the group’s latest in a string of weird, high-pitched bangers.

Every member of the crowd at the band’s only Melbourne Future Music Festival sideshow all seem as though they are the group’s number one fan; they know all the lyrics and jump at the right time. This is never more apparent than during I Fink U Freeky – you can barely see the stage because the crowd is jumping so high, and projected above Die Antwoord is the song’s iconic, slightly alarming music video.

Channeling ‘90s rave culture, Visser wears a glowing neon tracksuit (one of many outfits she dons throughout the evening), DJ Hi-Tek has a strange dog mask on and Ninja is showing off his tatts. Die Antwoord’s always been known as a band that places importance on their visuals, and they live up to this reputation with glowing microphones and a killer light show.

During Happy Go Sucky Fucky Visser has everyone chanting, “Fuck your rules,” while giving the finger – perfectly illustrating the anarchistic vibe of the night: “Fuck you, bitch, you just wanna be me!” Ninja then gets the already amped-up crowd going with a classic “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi” chant before diving into the audience.

Pitbull Terrier comes later, during which Ninja wears the pitbull mask from the controversial video while the crowd yells, “All my zef cats, look out!” The combination of Ninja’s aggressive bark and Visser’s light chipmunk delivery creates an unsettling atmosphere that is then accentuated with a blinding strobe light.

Despite Visser and Ninja’s undeniable stage presence, the star of the show is their balaclava-clad ‘backup dancer’ who alternates between wearing a skin-tight body suit and shimmering gold underwear throughout the night. She has all eyes enthralled with her hip hop video dance moves that, when she is lit from the back, look hypnotic rather than trashy. She seems to be channelling a replicant from Blade Runner or some other dated sci-fi film.  

There is never a lull in the show with tracks like Fatty Boom Boom, Raging Zef Boner and $copie keeping the crowd excited. The group’s high-energy performance is impressive – they jump around all night, barely taking a moment to breathe. Die Antwoord finish by playing a thumping rave track and then take a bow like it’s the theatre. As they leave the stage, the audience demands an encore. They don’t get it.