DIE ANTWOORD When a video featuring South African rave/hip-hop crew, Die Antwoord surfaced late last year, a lot of head-scratching ensued. Is this for real? What’s up with their hair? And why is that guy shaking his penis? Whatever you thought of that video and accompanying track ‘Beat Boy’, its collection of deadpan quips and bizarre slow motion visuals, offering a snap shot of ‘Zef’ (read: South African Neddy/ white trash) culture were impossible to forget – this was drummed in even harder with the following, novelty rave- hop/unhinged clips for ‘Enter The Ninja’ and Diplo-produced, ‘Evil Boy’.
Having slogged away in various guises throughout South Africa, Die Antwoord have since confused, entertained and ultimately, caught the attention of millions worldwide through the power of the internet, and now, a world tour. Having managed to get a major-label re- release of their debut album, $o$ (Polydor), they are on their way to the UK.
Ok, but who are they? Die Antwoord – Afrikaans for ‘the answer’ – consists of MC extraordinaire, Ninja, and his bratty yet bizarrely seductive partner-in-rhyme, Yo-landi Vi$$er, aided by DJ Hi-tek and his ‘next-level’ beats. What do they sound like? Blaring, belligerent synths, coupled with deep, pounding beats and helium vocals in thick (sorry *thuck*) SA accents about Xhosa culture and rich bitches. Masterfully dirty, witty and rapid rap flow? Or a joke band we’ll have forgotten by Christmas? Only time will reveal the answer. (Ryan Drever) ■ Die Antwoord play SWG3, Glasgow, Fri 12 Nov. www.dieantwoord.com
ELECTRO-POP ROBYN 02 ABC, Glasgow, Mon 18 Oct ●●●●●
ROCK/COUNTRY ROBERT PLANT Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Mon 18 Oct ●●●●● INDIE/FOLK-POP MAPLE LEAVES Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Wed 20 Oct ●●●●●
From her beginnings as a 90s teen- pop icon to her 00s domination of the hipster blogosphere, Sweden’s electro dissident, Robyn, has beaten a colourful path to stardom. She’s in Glasgow, replete with windmills and excessive strobe-lighting, while touring the three-album follow up to her revered mid-00s long-player, Robyn.
She doesn’t perform much from that
eponymous breakthrough album – save for the ubiquitous 2007 chart- topper ‘With Every Heartbeat’. What we’re served up instead are multiple electro-fired highlights – and various day-glo, rap-spattered curveballs – from Robyn’s current, year-long Body Talk triumvirate (Part III will be released later this month). She kicks off proceedings with the victorious double-header of ‘Fembot’ and ‘Cry When You Get Older’ – both of which benefit from a brawny backing band of double drummers and double synths. The crowd (including countless Robyn-a-likes) are clearly here for the hits, and hence go hands and phones-aloft for precision electro-pop anthems like ‘In My Eyes’, ‘Hang With Me’ and ‘Dancing On My Own’. (Robin Atkinson)
It’s impossible to ignore Robert Plant’s illustrious past with his ‘other band’ but tonight belongs to The Band of Joy. He may have reprised the name of his 1966 folk rock group but the current incarnation is very much an Americana outfit. Unsurprisingly Plant can call on an enviable selection of fantastic musicians including guitarist Buddy Miller, vocalist Patty Griffin and banjo/pedal steel/mandolin/guitar multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott. When he does revisit the songs that made him famous there’s a crackle of electricity through the audience, even in these countrified versions they’re still spellbinding. We get mellower takes on ‘Houses of the Holy’, ‘Misty Mountain Hop’, ‘Tangerine’ and ‘Gallows Pole’ (only ‘Rock’n’Roll’ gets the full rock treatment); the new translations suiting Plant’s current vocal range. At the age of 62 his voice could never be as powerful as before but now there’s a rich, lived-in quality. It’s all brought to an informal close with a cover of The Incredible String Band’s ‘A Very Cellular Song’ a fitting end to a night that even in the grand surrounds of the Usher Hall felt like an intimate experience. (Henry Northmore)
Up-and-coming boy-girl four piece Maple Leaves, who here launched their debut EP ‘Golden Ether’, move to that gentle, bookish indie-pop beat – all bittersweet lyrics, chiming piano and warm harmonies – with which Glasgow has become partly synonymous.
Despite boasting three instrument- swapping lead singers and songwriters who pass an acoustic guitar between them baton-like when taking the mic, they stamp their stuff with an impressive singularity of identity, imbued with weaving, wordy melodies borrowed from the folk tradition, voiced with particularly pleasant, trilling mellifluousness by chief vocalist Anna Miles.
The quartet’s bobbing, chirpy
demeanour recalls Saturday morning kids TV presenters; their summery, if sometimes saccharine sound is similarly, unashamedly perky – check out the winsomely groovy song ‘Kirsty’, and their new EP’s title track for proof. They definitely know how to craft a tune do Maple Leaves – a measure more individuality, confidence and volume, and this thoroughly likeable lot could go far. (Malcolm Jack)
PSYCH/ACOUSTIC GUITAR LICHENS Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Mon 25 Oct ●●●●●
Topping a meticulously chosen bill, the Chicago-based bassist with 90 Day Men and Kranky Records artist, Robert AA Lowe, aka Lichens, can captivate just by putting up his homespun stage set. It’s a similarly precise precursor to the ever-pulsating electronic manipulations that follow. Following the low-key vocal glitches of Iliop, the looped folk rounds of Wounded Knee and the epic soundtracks of The Douglas Firs, Lowe lays down a neatly ordered array of patterned rugs on which is placed a table covered with a cloth that suggests the local medium is about to take tea with assorted unseen spirits from the ether.
On a screen behind, projections of animated coloured balls flower into cartoon cloud-like splodges that blossom into infinity as Lowe gradually builds sound frequencies from a low hum to a densely layered and all- encompassing hypnotic wash. Wordless high-pitched vocals keen a looped spectral chorale that adds more textures to an already intense sensory overload that sounds as primitive, ancient and utterly beguiling as some psychoactive sci-fi flick come home to roost. (Neil Cooper)
4–18 Nov 2010 THE LIST 59