Archive for August, 2010

Backstage at the Zef Side – Die Antwoord plays at Club Trouw, Amsterdam

14:00 – Club “Trouw” Amsterdam on a rainy Monday afternoon, after a weekend filled with sunshine and festival fun. Unrelenting daylight of the palest kind shines through the windows and puts everything in a very un-club like atmosphere. I have been in clubs on strange moments, and believe me, also on Monday afternoons, but this is definitely the strangest. Everything is squeaky clean, and the only people around are some sweaty blokes trying to lift a crate on the stage. There is no music, and it smells like cleaning agent and coffee. As I said, the strangest moment. It’s another seven hours before the South African white trash rap spectacle goes down here, but already all the lights and the splendid Function-1 sound system are up and running. I’m wondering whether Die Antwoord’s “next level beats” are going to sound any good tonight.

15:30 – I try to find the man in charge, and it turns out his name is Lenny. A name that suits the guy in charge I think. “I was here since 9 this morning my friend. It’s always a day’s work to get this shit going, but when it’s done, it’s done!”

Tonights act has already arrived, but is apparently still recovering from previous gigs in their tour bus parked out back. Lenny already went outside and saw one coming out the bus. “He looked really rock ‘n roll. A real homeboy…”

17:00 – I wander backstage to see whether any of the artists have arrived. This is not the case. The dressing rooms are empty. Bowls of fruit and nuts covered in household film fill the table. The fridge is giving a friendly buzz, almost inviting me to open it. I feel like a kid left alone in a room full of candy. Which actually is the case, if your replace candy with rows of delicious looking Becks beer. I resist my budding alcoholism and close the fridge. Do you know what makes Becks so awesome? That aluminum foil around the neck. Peeling it off is a great activity while drinking. I’m telling you, somewhere in Germany, people thought of this.

I continue my stroll, now joined by my -super hot- (did I mention female?) partner in crime and photographer, to the dressing room belonging to the support act. We look around and take some pictures. Awesome graffiti. They have stupid Belgian Jupiler beer instead of glorious German Becks. 25 centiliters instead of 33. That must mean they’re 8 centiliters less awesome. And also, no foil to peel off! There has to be a difference I guess. I steal some chocolates and one of those totally inferior beers and we continue our shrewd raid through the backstage areas of Trouw.

17:30 – The first soundcheck begins. The sound guy is making neanderthaler-like noises into the microphone, but doing so with a totally serious and professional look on his face. It’s very hard not to find that hilarious. Meanwhile, desperate fans start gathering in front of the club, looking for a last ticket for this sold-out event. The doorbell rings constantly. But Trouw is ruthless. “But I came all the way from Tilburg, and I’ll wait here all day long, will you give me a ticket please?” No we won’t.

20:00 – Some noises from the backstage area, apparently, our South African guests have arrived. We don’t hesitate and make our way downstairs to take some pictures and maybe even a quick word with the artists. Before we can even get close to the dressing room where I previously drooled all over their fridge, we are stopped by an extraordinary little man with a quick temper and a shapeless t-shirt. He’s got this fanatical lok in his eyes. “No-one is allowed in this area, you have to leave!”

Behind him the door to the dressing room opens and we stretch our necks to peep inside, just in time to be granted a look upon the fabled Watkin Tudor Jones (aka the Ninja) and Yo-landi Vi$$er enjoying a beer (fabled because her voice sounds like she just inhaled a bunch of helium) Dj Hi-Tec (He owns a PC computer) is nowhere to be seen, but before we can look for him we are reminded once again of our unwantedness by the tiny English bloke. It now occurs to me this man must be their tour-manager. Surely, he must be part-midget. A normal person can’t be this small and still have a temper. Who would hire a midget tour-manager? That’s just silly. But hey, Die Antwoord featured pregoria (a super-fast aging disease) patient Leon Botha in their video clip “Enter the Ninja”, so that must mean they have a thing for people with disabilities.

21:00 – The club just opened and the first guests arrive. Nice people, not the normal type that would visit Trouw on a normal night. Remark of the night: “Wow! This place is awesome, they should definitely hold techno parties here!”

21:30 – Aux Raus, the support act begins their show. One guy plays the guitar and the other one screams hysterically in a microphone. Lovely tunes indeed. Meanwhile, we sneak backstage to see what they did to their dressing room. The music they play implies they drank a bottle of vodka each and they just totally trashed the room. We expect total mayhem, a small fire, passed out strippers and drugs everywhere. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, a bottle of vodka is on the table but they maybe drank two glasses. The apple juice on the other hand is almost finished. Pussies. I check the fridge. The only beer missing is the one I stole previously. I am so disappointed in rock ‘n roll right now. As a punishment I steal two more. Our second attempt to get into the main dressing room is once again thwarted by the evil British midget. O! How I hate him.

22:15 – Finally, The South African phenomena mounts the stage in Trouw for their show, and I have to say, it was pretty awesome. Yo-Landi totally makes up for her size with spectacular raw rapping power and some dirty moves, and Ninja, it turns out, possesses amazing crowd-surfing skills, which is impressive for a guy who looks like the gangsta-rap-version of miss Twiggy. They changed clothes four times, and for the last song they all wore bunny suits. You can’t argue with bunny suits. As a result the crowd goes insane. We attempt to take pictures, but some big douchebag with a much larger camera (compensation) is in our way. Ninja screams something about multiculturalism with his adorable South African accent. The crowd loves him for it. Admittedly, it would have helped if they actually had a black person in their group, which is not the case except if Yo-Landi turns out to be an albino. That would be sick. And it would fit their disabilities-fetish too.

23:30 – Afterwards, we try once more to sneak some pictures, and maybe a quick interview. No luck. All we get to see is a now seriously annoyed and worryingly red-faced tour manager. My Almost Famous dream just bursted: No doing cocaine with Dj Hi-Tec for me, no backstage pictures of me chillin’ with the creme de la creme of the South African hip-hop scene. We decide to go home. Ah well, we got some free beers out of it. Plus I got to see Yo-Landi’s ass. Totally worth it.

Words: Pepijn van den Wall Bake

Photo’s: Laura Luikens