Things to consider when bringing the Sonar Tour to the Ogden Theatre: Should the set times be released prior to the show? Is it okay to have a show that lasts 7.5 hours without re-entry? Should there be a DJ playing outside in a Red Bull truck? Does Denver truly love techno music? The answer to all these questions, and more, is a resounding yes. Oh, and Die Antwoord is still fucking bonkers, in case you were wondering.
See also: - Slideshow: Die Antwoord on the Sonar Tour - Ten best concerts of the week: November 5-9 - Paul Kalkbrenner on keeping his sound pure by not listening to anybody else's music - Review: Die Antwoord at the Ogden Theatre, 8/6/12 - Die Antwoord take us deeper down the zef rabbithole - Freaky Friday: "Enter the Ninja" - Die Antwoord
The fact that by the time Die Antwoord hit the stage the show had already been going for nearly four hours, which in terms of shows isn't really that long, people were starting to get a little antsy (I'm looking at you, guy yelling "DIE ANTWOORD" during Azari & III's set.) When the lights did finally drop, an ode to Leon Botha, the act's DJ who passed away in 2011, welcomed the South African group to the stage. A filmed portrait of Botha sat on the stage spanning LED panel while the Hi-Tek eased his way behind the tables and opened into the performance.
Yo-Landi Vi$$er, the squealing vocalist whose pitch makes you scratch your head in confusion as to whether or not she's actually singing, came out on stage first sporting the same orange sweat suit she was wearing when her group last appeared in Denver. Ninja followed suit, and they got started with "Hey Sexy," which saw Vi$$er stripping off the sweat suit revealing pink spandex shorts and a belly shirt. When the hook, "shake what your momma gave ya," came ringing through, she did just that, and drew quite the reaction from everyone in the front row.
Whether you think Die Antwoord is for shock value or we're just conditioned to question new things, it's hard to argue that this act's energy is through the roof. They ooze juggalo while radiating gangster, and whether you like them for their record catalog or that one song about a butterfly and a samurai ("Enter the Ninja"), it's impossible to deny the talent that is there. While last's night energy came in waves during the set, there were those awkward moments where everyone was simply staring at the trio do its thing rather than dancing or trying to groove along. This didn't really take away from the act, but this is high energy music, so the electricity that's in the air from the performance really has no conductor to attach itself to.
After Ninja declared that he had, in fact, been doing this for "twenty fokken years," A large white inflatable Shmoo-like character with an enormous penis came to life at stage right. Not to take away from Ninja, who was down to his underwear (Dark Side of the Moon boxers to be exact), but the inflatable thing was (I think they call it Evil Boy) distracting. The very end of the set saw Vi$$er returning to the stage in a hoodie and those sexy pink shorts singing the hook to "Enter the Ninja," and while it would almost have been better to not hear this song, it's what everyone wanted to hear and it was probably what they'd been waiting for all night.
Azari & III sat in the spot right before Die Antwoord, and this disco quartet couldn't have done a better job. With soulful vocals laid over dark house melodies, vocalist Starving Yet Full blasted out the lyrics to "Manic," while fellow vocalist Fritz Helder joined in on harmonies. Helder and SYF have a chemistry on stage that makes it impossible to take your eyes off of them. Even when they would let Alphonse Alixander Lanza III and Dinamo Azari, the beat makers of the group, go off into a drum and bass production, or deep into some scary melodic groove, their stage presence was not only seen, but noticeably felt.
Paul Kalkbrenner opened prior to Azari & III with some great after-hours music. If there was any question as to whether or not Mercury went retrograde two days ago, let it be known that we were hearing 5 a.m. deep house at 9 p.m., it felt a little backwards, like we should all have been standing in a swampy warehouse with little light and a lot of smoke. The smoke was plentiful, and as good as the music was, it just doesn't fit the opening mood. Kalkbrenner's set was awesome; Nonstop music with smooth transitions and deep bass lines.
The closer after Die Antwoord was Nic Fanciulli, and barely anyone saw his set. Right after Die Antwoord performed, almost everyone in the building piled out of the show, probably because they thought it was the final act. Wrong! Fanciulli came out about fifteen minutes after and proceeded to lay the techno on thick and full to probably 75 people. All I can say is if you walked out of the show after Die Antwoord, you missed the highlight of the evening.
Personal Bias: Yo-Landi Vi$$er's sex appeal is wild. I almost feel creepy lusting over her because of her video persona in which she's this innocent helpless girl, but in the reality, is she could probably beat the living shit out of me. I can dig it.
Random Detail: Azari & III blew the crowd away at times, but other songs just didn't have the same captivation.
By the Way: The lasted seven hours. I've not been to a show at the Ogden that has lasted that long.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.