PHOTOS: Kraftwerk Bring Futuristic Sound and Light Show to Electric Factory
On paper, spending hours with a group of static, spandex-clad sexagenarians looping hypnotic electronica might come off as a mildly terrifying way to spend a Friday night. But on a 3-D projector screen, one revises their assessment—for Euro-electro exemplars Kraftwerk, that’s the kind of concept that packs a house.
On Friday, crowds filed in to a sold-out Electric Factory for a 3-D concert experience from Düsseldorf’s avant-garde titans. Aptly dressed as extras from Tron, the band stood mechanically before an immense screen of projections ranging from motion graphic renderings of some of their most iconic album art, to 16mm film reels, to 8-bit interstellar animation sequences.
The middle-aged spare tires protruding from the bands’ skintight jump suits could have been grounds for a faint audience discomfort, had those suits—and those guts—not been sported with an outlandishly stoic Teutonic poise one might expect from the krautrock pioneers.
Proving one part concert, one part gallery instillation, the show saw moments of the band leaving the stage all together, retiring backstage during the title track of 1978’s “The Man Machine,” and using the titular firetruck-red robots as stand-ins, (allowing the vital time to change into yet another set of matching spandex suits, of course.)
Friday was an ambitious spectacle from a group that seems to have a drive for experimentation laced in its very computer-generated DNA. Forty-five years into their career, that programmed innovation thankfully shows no loss of momentum.