Die Antwoord 10/29 Gramercy Theatre NY Review

By Julene Horowitz

On Thursday I received a text informing me that Die Antwoord was having a show at the Gramercy and that I should definitely be there. By the time I got home it was 4am; I fell asleep with my finger on my MacBook’s mousepad just as I was needing to click “confirm” for the tickets.

When I woke up hours later, the show was sold out. After an afternoon spent unsuccessfully trying to score myself a single off Craigslist and reaching out to my limited but semi-connected network of friends in the city, I decided I was better off just standing out front of the venue and trying to buy myself a ticket. I took the train, transferring between the two which doesn’t sound like an accomplishment but I’m still pleased I got there without getting lost. Such was not the case on my way back from the city at 2am, but that’s not a terribly interesting story either.

I strolled up and down the line, half-singing in my own awkward fashion a tune I would like to call “Does anyone have a ticket? Just one ticket. (One ticket for me.)” While this seemed to amuse the folks in line, the first person to take interest in my future hit was sadly mistaken in thinking I would take him up on his offer: “if you’re willing to offer more than $70.” I appreciate everyone’s just trying to make a buck, but I’m not a die-hard (ooh, easy joke!) fan. Paying more than face value for this show was not going to happen. The poor fanboy could not wrap his head around my laughing at his offer.


This kid was wearing just a pair of Pink Floyd boxers in the cold along with reproductions of Ninjas’ tattoos that someone had none-too-kindly put to skin with a ballpoint pen. Next time he decides to go the distance, I hope he coughs up the extra $5 to get a Sharpie. Nothing looks worse than agitated skin on a ginger.

Bear in mind it’s Halloween weekend when I tell you Conan O’Brian and his hick friend were having a hard time securing a second ticket. They asked what I was willing to pay, informing me they dropped $50 on the one ticket they had. And while I appreciated the offer, I remain a penny-pincher at heart. $30 ticket or bust, my friends. The doors were supposed to open at 8, but 8:30 rolled around and the line of kids was still wound around the corner, freezing their asses off in varying states of dress. I have to keep reminding myself of the nature of this weekend, but to wear only leggings and a crop top in ode to your current favorite trash-rave-hop South Africans on an incredibly brisk night strikes me as fucking retarded.

Cue the appearance of an attractive male in his late 20’s with a banging accent and his two friends (one of which was even more beautiful, albeit a bit short for my taste.) They are in the midst of trying to convince another friend, supposedly a serious Die Antwoord fan, that he needs to bail on hanging out with his girlfriend to come to the show with them. I think we all know the pull of the pussy is stronger than the desire to see some white trash spit some shit on stage, right? Right.

Clearly they took my $30 offer. As it turns out, they all happened to be from South Africa. Over the course of the night I learned many things. Like my pronunciation (Die Ant-word, phonetically) should be changed to “DEE ANT-VERD” and that nobody, nobody would ever make a comment about your mom’s puss being in a fishpaste jar in polite company back in Capetown. It’s one of those slang terms the boys had no problem equating to the use of some other really choice words in the English language. They watched in awe as a mostly-full (but sold out?) room full of people sung along with words they clearly didn’t understand. Music does that to people, I guess. I lucked out, getting a full translation for all things said in Afrikaans along with a lot of free Red Bull. Free because I’m a girl and god dammit, I needed the energy after standing in the cold for an hour and a half.

There were a lot of people that had gone all out with their get ups in the crowd, which I raised alternating eyebrows at while secretly envying their fanaticism. My people-watching rocks got off more times than I can count. Of course, getting the back story of the characters on stage, the history of the slang terms they were using and more importantly discovering that jumping around pointlessly in a too-packed crowd toward the front of the venue to something aside from The Unseen is still really, really fun kinda took the cake for me.

To actually break down the show: the opening act was The Knocks. I’ve never heard of them and I’ll be frank, I could’ve gone without. The crowd was super-hyped about the main act and pretended to be into the group as long as possible but… this act would be best if left to Williamsburg.

The stage dims and we’re subjected to 5-10 minutes of that creepy-faced boy thing from the group’s videos before DJ Hi-Tek takes the stage, wearing a mask of course. Yo-Landi enters, followed by Ninja, in hooded costumes.

During the performance of “Evil Boy” Ninja disappeared offstage for a few before reappearing in some truly heinous Spongebob Squarepants boxer shorts with a ginormous cock-mic protruding which he proceeded to rap into. Yo-Landi really put it down–and shook it like a salt shaker while groping herself over and under her gold leggings and jacket during “Rich Bitch” . I was stoked they performed it live, as this is the song that made me interested in the band after dismissing their debut video of “Enter the Ninja.” The stage presence these two freaks managed with limited props aside from crazy accents and hooded costumes was nothing to shake a stick at. The crowd was amped the entire performance, all too happy to help Ninja crowd surf on numerous occasions–one of which involved him being dressed as Pikachu while his tiny blonde counterpart spazzed out on stage dressed Gloomy Bear.

Overall, decent sound and most importantly: ever bit as amusing in real life as they have been on video (though I would’ve been happier had Diplo made a shirtless appearance).

Many thanks to Neal, Ross and friend #3 for letting me attend the show with them and purchasing me many energy drinks and bottles of water. I hope you enjoy the remaining few weeks of your vacation and work-studies here in the States. Sorry I bailed shortly after we arrived crashed that loft party on the Lower East Side. I know you were all really excited about Karen O being in attendance, but once your younger finger-biting friend started going on about his incredibly large ego and micropenis I realized I was out way past my bedtime.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for da review but wowza this sounds like it was written by the grinch. Its a shame you found so many things to mock about that night but i’m glad that the show was enjoyable

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