8 Days Remaining

Wednesday 5th
posted by Morning Star in Arts


Royal Albert Hall, London SW7


“BOING Boom Tschak,” so the repetitive and vocoder-inflected lyrics go of one of the classic tunes from German synth pioneers Kraftwerk, interspersed with the occasional words “music non-stop, techno pop.”

Watching Kraftwerk live is always going to be a unique experience. Describing it as a “performance” would be altogether imprecise.

Four men stand behind their respective synthesisers with the only real visual stimulus the incredible video backdrops for each track.

And evidently on this 3D tour the group, led by only original member Ralf Hutter, thought they’d make the experience that much more unique by having these videos jump out at you. So the Boing, the Boom and the Tschak literally smack you in the face like a Marvel comic cartoon.

During the two-hour set we’re treated to a career-spanning treat of melodic lyrical belters from the romantic, if not robotic, love songs of Computer Love and Neon Lights.

And the remarkably harmonious breakthrough Autobahn, which the group claim is influenced by the Beach Boys — go figure — gets an airing with a wonderfully calming video that makes driving on the motorway look like heaven.

The cycling obsessives also play Tour de France, complete with so many 3D cyclists hurtling at you left, right and centre that you’re left feeling a little giddy.

And then there’s Robots during the encore, in which the foursome are replaced with robot versions of themselves.

You’ve got to hand it to Kraftwerk as a truly inimitable act. Musicians come and musicians go, many have influences and many are derivative.

But nobody can rip Kraftwerk off without being too obvious about it.

They have created the ultimate unripoffable outfit, band, group — whatever they are, they’re second to none.

Will Stone