This is the end of a very hot California summer. Where better to enjoy it than under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl? I inherited two tickets to the Kraftwerk show last Sunday from some friends. I was thrilled. My companion, Rudi, is tall, handsome, smart, and with two umlauts in his last name, I knew he could explain what Kraftwerk meant. I was surprised when he mentioned the many rap records and Technodelic offerings that were born from the sounds of Kraftwerk.
According to their Wiki page, Kraftwerk (German pronunciation: [ˈkʀaftvɛɐk], means “power station”). They are “a German electronic and pop music band formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1969 in Düsseldorf. The band was fronted by both Hütter and Schneider until Schneider’s departure in 2008.”
Kraftwerk emerged from the German “krautrock” scene in the early 1970s. They present themselves as machine-like humans or robots. I saw Kraftwerk at the Palladium in the ’90s, but I found them much more stimulating this time around. They took a page from every album they have put out, and added 3D to the mix. The performance is stark and robotic. The band barely moves. The 3D imagery was ’80s-influenced and uniform; the projections were clean and linear. My favorite songs were “Tour de France,” which featured videos from the ’70s tour, showing the huffing and puffing of the journey, and “The Model,” filled with visions from ’50s and ’60s high fashion.
When we reached the peak of the show, a star fell from the sky. It was almost as if it were planned. It made for a perfect evening. The tour continues in Mexico and South America next week. Look them up at Kraftwerk.com. Danke.