Wednesday, March 25, was a lovely day in Atlanta. The sun’s rays beamed through the trademark stained glass windows of the Tabernacle, one of the city’s most treasured concert halls, creating a kaleidoscope of colors on the historic venue’s hardwood floors. Spectators felt the soft breeze on their faces as it cascaded through the Dogwood trees’ new spring blossoms. The soothing sound of cars coming and going filled the sidewalks and narrow alleyways of nearby buildings.
All was calm that beautiful day on Luckie Street. That is, until the sun went down. The immense vibrancy of a thundering, roaring force of life filled the building from the inside out that night. The Tabernacle’s once cold, hushed brick walls felt a pulse. Just one entity was capable of bestowing this inconceivable gift of life on the formally silent, breathless structure—that being was Die Antwoord.
The South African musical group, whose name in Afrikaans means “The Answer,” graced the stage with their outrageously high-energy, rage-inducing performance in front of a sold-out audience on March 25. Die Antwoord is comprised of a hyper-provocative rapper front man who goes by Ninja and the adorably creepy wonder that is Yolandi Visser—whose pitch black, shark-like eyes and mousey vocals leave a chill—along with their perpetually hardcore beat master, DJ Hi-Tek. With their controversial lyrics, provocatively artistic stage presence and visual effects that can only be described as gloriously indecent, the rap-rave group took no prisoners.
Although neither Ninja nor Yolandi were on stage for the set’s intro, the hair-raising sensation generated from a daunting video projected on a large backdrop display made the wait well worth it. The video clip featured the infamous South African painter and DJ Leon Botha. Botha is also one of the world’s oldest survivors of the premature aging syndrome progeria, and is unfortunately deceased. Images of Botha were seen of him staring into the audience while a track of chanting monks radiated the room. After several minutes of slightly terrifying anticipation, the group burst onto the stage, aggressive and eager to entertain. The beat dropped and madness ensued.
The hooligan pair held nothing back. Performing several of their cult hits such as “Fatty Boom Boom,” “Cookie Thumper” and “Baby’s on Fire,” Die Antwoord effortlessly manifested the crowd with a monstrous energy that was beyond comparison. Yolandi slayed with her piercing anthems; Ninja stripped down to his Pink Floyd boxers and then beyond, while he delivered his crude, in-your-face verses. The backdrop continuously depicted many sci-fi horror film-type images and clips from the group’s various music videos. In the crowd, hundreds of fans raged together to the pounding music as a massive sea of convulsing bodies. All night the hype never diminished.
Die Antwoord’s unique way of creating and performing their craft epitomizes true artistry. Their expression knows no limits. Having the opportunity to see their creativity come to life first-hand is an experience that is truly unparalleled. The entire show was a ridiculous, outrageous, shocking, disturbing, over-sexed nightmare; nobody in the crowd could ever get enough of it.