Die Antwoord/The Knocks @ Gramercy Theater 10.29.10

Die Antwoord by Chris La Putt

Fans of spontaneity, it's always the most sweet when we end up going to shows last minute.
The show itself was only scheduled 3 days before after the South African trio canceled their opening gig for Deadmau5 at Roseland due to "production issues." Snail jumped on that shit quick before it sold out, which it did because Die Antwoord fans don't play.

The Friday before Halloween, there were a crap ton of people dressed up like Ninja and Yo-Landi in the white sweatsuit get ups. We saw a Conan O'Brien and Tigger, too. It was a fun atmosphere in the line but at the same time, we feared the amount of rowdiness we were going to be subjected to in our semi-shit state of cold, sickness and tiredness. Luckily, Gramercy Theater has seating at the back of the floor where we could enjoy the set but not get killed if there was a riot.

Up we went to where all the sissies were sitting, fortunately next to the hottest man in the room but freezing our asses off. The Knocks came on stage and started playing some noise either made terrible or had its horribleness amplified by the worst sound set up, ever. An ebony and ivory duo who I guess mash stuff up with original material and psychedelic projections resembling some poor man's version of the Flaming Lips' visuals.

The only redeeming qualities of this act were the 3 seconds they played of Major Lazer's "Pon da Floor" and their dancers, kind of. The ladies clad in GaGa hair, sunglasses and toight sunset and palm tree mini dresses, looked sedated at times but had good rhythm and pretty ass legs. Taking into account the time they had to get their shit together and open this show, we shant hold this one performance against them but we're not exactly dying to check them out proper any time soon.

In the spirit of Halloween and, well, their entire off-center aesthetic, Die Antwoord set up their performance with a super creepy video featuring the star of their "Enter the Ninja" video, Leon Botha. For an hour and change, the group killed it working down songs including "Enter the Ninja," "Wat Kyk Jy?," "Rich Bitch," and "Evil Boy."

The crowd was super responsive and rowdy especially in the first few rows and further back everyone was have a good time and not being retarded, Snail reported after a quick inspection. This made us feel like turds for not going down to join the dance party. No matter, we still had a ton of fun chair-dancing and laughing at their awesome nonsense accordingly.

Nonsense that included some major wardrobe changes, initiated by their signature white sweatsuits, that varied between humorously oversized and hypersexual.

It was queer seeing the light shine through Yo-Landi's onesie sweatsuit which was so huge the silhouette of her pint-sized frame made it look like some kind of marshmallow ghost x-ray haha. She looked way too fine in those gold lame liquid leggings, though. In the tradition of M.I.A. sidekick Miss Cherry and Buraka Som Sistema's Blaya, she's got the kind of body for which leggings exist.

Ninja's boxer change from Spongebob Squarepants to Pink Floyd (and the idea that this happens every show) was hilarious. His excessive pelvic thrusts made me uncomfortable but assured us of one thing: with what he's packing, there is no shortage of women offering their bodies to him.

For the encore, they came out in looking silly in oversized pig (Yo-Landi) and Pikachu (Ninja) costumes.

Many have dubbed this group a novelty act like its a bad thing. So what if they've got a gimmick? The Zef shit works for them. They are so good at teetering the line between unsettling, weird and absolutely ridiculous, it's easy to understand why they played a set with Aphex Twin and Harmony Korine is interested in working with them. The songs are incredibly catchy, DJ Hi-Tek's beats are fly and Ninja and Yo-Landi know what buttons to push to work a crowd and do it better than most normal acts. If it makes you dance, wince and laugh all at the same time, its a-okay in our book.

Walking out singing "Rich Bitch" in awe of how fun that was even as sitting ducks, we vowed to do this one over right next year! Too good.

Check out BrooklynVegan for complete setlist and pics


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