It might seem weird to express gushy emotion over an appearance of the robotic German electronic avatar, Kraftwerk, in Philadelphia (July 30 at The Met. Tickets are on sale now at www.kraftwerk.com). They celebrated computer worlds and embraced the gear shifting of bicycles and the locomotion of express train travel. They cloned themselves with the intent of sending their showroom dummies on tour without them, without the human element.
And yet, they radiate nothing but the richest elements of humanity, with something deeply European within their minimalist melodies (think of “The Model,” or even “Pocket Calculator”) and icily romantic about said celebrations and embraces.
A 3-D tour with towering all-programmable and sequenced technology at its root might not seem the height of humanity. But, whether you, like me, witnessed Kraftwerk’s 2015 iteration of the 3-D show-scape at Electric Factory, as well as their damned near primitive (in comparison) only other area appearance, at Emerald City in Cherry Hill in 1981, you got their humanness.
If I had to choose among the shows I have witnessed and picked favorites, that first Kraftwerk outing still ranks within my Top 10 – especially considering that I thought Emerald City’s dance floor was caving in from the deepest of bass bin responses. The Electric Factory show, just five years ago, also featured fissure-rippling bass, but not like Emerald City did. What the Factory show did have was its staging – just a dazzle of motion graphics, laser luminescence and merrily odd projection – all in 3-D.
If my enthusiasm doesn’t catch your imagination for a rare Kratfwerk show, check out the video kit accompanying the quartet’s 50thanniversary tour announcement where Diplo, Afrika Bambaataa, Cut Chemist and Pharrell share their love of the robots.