Die Antwoord

Rock Stage, Downsview Park, Toronto ON, September 7

Die AntwoordRock Stage, Downsview Park, Toronto ON, September 7
Photo: Stephen McGill
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Probably Riot Fest's most divisive band, South Africa's Die Antwoord are beloved by fans and derided by detractors for cultural appropriation. Their set also generated some of the most interest as onlookers poured into the Rock Stage area to witness the rave-rap trio represent the zef.

Arriving onstage to the sounds of Gregorian chants, DJ Hi Tek, clad in a mask and orange sweat-suit, set the tone with "DJ Hi Tek Rulez," a braggadocio track complete with on-the-nose homophobic lines like "DJ Hi-Tek, yo you can't touch me, faggot / You're not man enough, I'll fuck you in the ass."

Pint-sized female MC Yolandi Vi$$er soon appeared, hyping the crowd with "Fok Julie Naaiers" before Ninja finally emerged. The duo stalked the stage like veterans, often climbing onto the DJ platform for a better vantage point. Joined by a pair of masked dancers, the MCs moved deftly through tracks from their three albums with Ninja employing his hip-thrusting dance clad in Dark Side of the Moon boxers. Although not headlining, they gave themselves an encore, saving the incredibly catchy "Enter the Ninja" for last.

Die Antwoord put on a tremendously entertaining show, turning their idiosyncrasies up to 11. If you buy what they're selling, it's impossible to leave their show disappointed. But just because they claim to represent one aspect of South African culture doesn't mean we need to embrace or even tolerate it.

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