Gig review: Kraftwerk, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
This was a mesmerising but playful presentation, with each immaculate track from their influential back catalogue accompanied by their signature stylised visuals in eye-popping 3D, from the austere Bauhaus-style graphics of Man Machine to test card-as-designed-by-Mondrian colour splashes.
When a giant computer loomed out of the screen, the audience oohed as if attending the unveiling of a new Apple product (in the 70s), then climbed aboard their spaceship to cruise over planet Earth, our cosmic odyssey soundtracked by the quaint disco pulse of Spacelab.
Glasgow was plotted on a satellite map – the Kraftwerk equivalent of roaring “good evening Glasgow”. They are famously a band of few words but they can say more about the state of Europa with a few choice lyrical juxtapositions, such as Computerworld’s subtext of state surveillance or Trans Europe Express’s tonic for the Brexit blues.
This exquisite minimalism extended to the music. Two of their more romantic numbers, Computer Love and Neon Lights, were propelled by simple but sublime tunes, while Autobahn and Tour de France were blithe, streamlined machines, still sounding fresher than most of what has trailed in their wake.
During the encore they owned that techno culture they created but not before the ritual unveiling of their creepy mannequin alter egos for The Robots. Kraftwerk don’t even need to be onstage to blast most bands out of the water.