Edit this event
- Kraftwerk »
Let us think about the enormity of the situation here. Kraftwerk have not played a British tour in 12 years and, due to their perfectionist nature, are still promoting an album that took effectively 21 years to complete. And, considering that their new album is in the ‘embryonic stage’, the next batch of gigs seems a long way away.
Unprolific or not, if they hadn’t become the giants of electro pioneering that grace Brixton Academy twice tonight then half of the records in your collection probably wouldn’t exist. Appearing from silhouette behind a row of four laptop/synth contraptions, in front of massive visuals and ploughing straight into the majestically fuzzy harmonies of ‘Man Machine’, it’s clear that they mean business. This is, after all, a group that sport tailor-made suits and work in the studio from nine to five. But behind the sense of manufacture there is a pulsating heart. The robotic body has a soul.
Rapturous receptions are plentiful, and understandable given each track is a classic. From the housey, trance-tinged version of ‘Tour de France’ to the relatively gentle plod of ‘Autobahn’ it's magnificent. Even a beefed up rendition of ‘The Model’ appears, bilingual-rhyming-dictionary lyrics and all. ‘Vitamin’ bristles with more excitement than you’d expect from a list of nutrients set to music, and the bassline of nuclear-political anthem ‘Radioactivity’ ripples through the bowels of all in attendance.
In the first encore (after a change to LED neckties) the segue from ‘Numbers’ - yes, basically counting put to a rhythm – into ‘Computer World’ is truly exhilarating. ‘Pocket Calculator’ is so sublime yet ridiculous that even its creators are moved to wiggle their hips to the kickdrum and smirk at the absurdity of it all. It’s in the second encore, though, that another legend is bought to life, the vision of the band’s concept. From behind the curtain appears four robots with the faces of the band, who duly ‘perform’ a fitting rendition of ‘The Robots’ which is hilarious, inspiring and bloody scary all at once. Then it’s back to the flesh and bone – now each sporting a fluorescent lycra number – for a blast of new single ‘Aerodynamik’ and ‘Music Non Stop’, where each member individually departs as the music snaps, crackles, boings, bangs, booms, tschaks and pengs it’s way to a close.
So, there’s more cycling obsession than The Delgados, more mechanoid love than Add (N) To (X), more weird influence than just about anybody from the last three decades, and a brilliant show that moves a fraction of the air molecules most bands use in half the time for a gig half as good. Let’s hope they get cracking with that new album, then.
- Kraftwerk perform Radio-Activity at Tate Modern, Camberwell, Thu 07 Feb
- In Photos: Way Out West 2012 @ Gothenburg, Sweden
- Spotifriday #20 Side II: Kraftwerkweek as a playlist
- Spotifriday #20 Side I: This Week on DiS as a playlist
- Kraftwerk - Tour de France: Remastered
- Kraftwerk - The Mix: Remastered
- Kraftwerk - Techno Pop: Remastered
- Kraftwerk - Computer World: Remastered