“Is it our first fokkin’ time in Cleveland?” Die Antwoord‘s Ninja asked the sold out crowd at the Cleveland House of Blues. “The Answer” was clear. The interestingly mixed crowd of old school raver kids, goths, and dads roared back as Ninja teetered on the edge of the stage cupping his ear to egg on the crowd to get louder.
Despite the late start time, the South African rap-rave group kept a constant hype, with eerie string-infused Gregorian monk chant music. Girls with painted faces in the likeness of Yolandi Visser’s signature look (black eye contacts included) chanted “Zef! Zef!” in anticipation. With an image of the late DJ and artist Leon Botha’s face staring out into the audience, DJ Hi-Tek lumbered up to his post in a hoodie and mask with Ninja and Visser following dress in Pikachu and Gloomy Bear outfits respectively. With the fast-paced dirty beats of DJ Hi-Tek, Visser, Ninja and two masked stage dancers who flew, skipped and twerked all over. Ninja and Visser stopped only to lean out into the crowd with mic raised in hand to rap along with favorites like “Banana Brain”, “Rich Bitch”, and “I Fink U Freeky”.
Near the end of the set, Ninja jumped into the crowd and relied on fans to hold him up as he balanced while rapping. Once his shaky knees gave way, Ninja was crowdsurfed back to safety, but not without someone pulling down his boxers as he stood back up on stage, providing everyone with a well-received full moon. As the crowd chanted “one more song” after Die Antwoord exited the stage, one song is what they gave; an extended version of $O$‘s “Enter the Ninja”.