So I must confess, I did not go to Lollapalooza and I didn’t get to experience the outdoor event for yet another year, however I did part take in the festivities surrounding the festival; more specifically the after parties. One thing about events like Lollapalooza is that a lot of acts come to the city, whether playing lolla or not, and every shitty high end bar/late night [dance] club can say they got so and so performing a “live Dj set” at their fine facility. Knowing the trap, I picked and chose which after parties sounded best and formulated a plan to get the most out of my Lolla weekend.
The day before the massive show at the Congress Theater, I got invited to experience the resurgence of the Trap with the dudes leading the charge, Flosstradamus. They completely annihilated Spybar as well as the eardrums of the entire place. A ringing was still heard well into the next day. I was definitely still feeling the effects of that night late into the next one, but that wasn’t going to stop me from seeing and raging out to Die Antwoord and Nero at the Congress Theater.
Arriving to the Congress round 11 the line stretched round the corner. Filled with loosely dressed individuals, a few full bodied characters [spong bobs and tony the tigers] and an overly aggressive police presence mixed with the smell of kush and the Chicago summer heat made for the perfect combination of anticipation for my first experience with the South African collective known as Die Antwoord and the UK collective of Nero. Admittedly I had no idea what to expect, at least from Die Antwoord but I was told nothing but incredible things about Nero, so I was filled with a rabid anticipation. But there was something throughout the entire venue, a weird vibe circling the crowd as we stepped through the doors and later infused into the attendees. Yet, getting situated a few people away from the front [stage] barrier, I was immune to that Kak, I was here to RAGE!
The lights dimmed, the DA logo appeared, the fans went wild and the show was on! Flowing through a countless amount of material, Ninja controlled the crowd doing stage dive after stage dive while Yolandi’s neon/gold/latex inspired round derrière bouncing uncontrollably on stage had the crowd in a trance. Spazzing out to “I Fink U Freaky” Die Antwoord keep the energy going as the crowd favorite and joint that put them on the map, “Beat Boy”, blasted out the speakers Ninja along with his minions in the crowd spat his lyrical barrage and waist thrusting antics. After making my way up to the front [stage] barrier the energy of these South Africans was definitely felt. As “Evil Boy” came on I took a little breather to look around and that aura of strange happened again. The upstairs crowd almost ruined the entire show; they were all siting down like they were too cool for school! Despite that buzz kill, the people up front were definitely enjoying themselves; the entire vibe was incredible. As their set winded down, Die Antwoord ended with a tribute to their late bandmate Dj Hitek, then came back for an encore performance of “Enter The Ninja” as the crowd yelled out “Ninja! Ninja! Ninja!“. And with that Yolandi shouted Byebye in that mouse tinged voice and it was a wrap. Die Antwoord definitely killed it, fok julle naaiers!
Totally amped by Die Antwoord, I was eagerly awaiting the UK duo of Nero to take the stage. The crowd cleared a bit, as we got some drinks and headed back just in time, but for what? What seemed like an eternity all they did was play with the lights and toss hand signals to the sound guy. The whole transition was weird, since the stage was basically a table with decks on it. What could be taking them so long to set up? But I digress. The crowd thickened up, the sweat started flowing from the countless shirtless bodies and it was on. Nero takes center stage, all lights blaring. Boom the Nero logo appears and it was on. Yet, it was all kind of awkward because the blaring lights did nothing than exposed how exhausted these guys already looked and their set didn’t even start yet! But since I’m a glass half full kind of mind, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. After seeing pictures of their performance at Lolla earlier that day and all the praise, the night could only get better… right? Yet my assumption and anticipation met reality and the complete shittiness of a Dj set these two put on. The lights that they so played with for a good 10 minutes before hand, did nothing but shine bright center stage and added to the already sauna like conditions of the congress. No lasers, no confetti, no ornate graphics on screen, just two guys with bottles in hand and that’s all we got. Jipped to say the least. That’s when I had enough, got my people together walked the halls for some drank, a smoke and we made our way off to watch paint dry.
So over all, Die Antwoord killed it and I’ll definitely be checking for them in the near future when they come stomping through Chicago. As for Nero, well I’m a beliver in second chances but never again will I try to sit through another Dj set from these two. The venue was the same old, beautiful actitectual stone aged marvel with an incredible sound but god daym was it a sauna! I feel sorry for all those costumed dressed party goers. At the end of the night one of two performances saved the day and thats not a bad thing. Maybe next time I won’t expect so much from the headliner. All wasn’t lost as there was still tomorrow’s after parties to look forward too!
Thanks to React Presents!