A clairvoyant German pop group saw a future where digital took over our world before the Internet was even invented. And now they're coming to Portland with their electronic-pop-synth anthems.
Formed in Germany in the late 1960s, Kraftwerk began as Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneide. Almost five decades later, they’re considered one of the most influential bands of the late twentieth century.
And if there were any doubt, their 2012 art and music retrospective at New York’s MOMA cemented their pop culture place. Over eight nights, they gave live performances, alongside 3D visualizations, of individual albums—bringing their electro sound, imaginative sets and visuals together as works of art. They followed up with performances in London, Tokyo, Sydney, Berlin, and Los Angeles. As the Guardian put it: “These are art-event spectaculars to which everyone wants entry because no other band since the Beatles has given so much to pop culture.”
Now they’re bringing some of that MOMA magic to Portland with a one-night only Kraftwerk performance in the Keller auditorium. For a primer on their extensive back catalog and a quick recap on decades of Kraftwerk magic, see our videos below.
1978’s The Robots defined their man/machine thematic bent, and became a refrain for futurists everywhere.
It was remixed in 1991. . .
1974’s Autobahn had everyone convinced the band were singing about what fun it was to be on the autobahn, including whoever made this video, apparently. But it was released before the internet, when it was harder to troll people with the correct lyrics: Wir fahren fahren fahren auf der Autobahn. “We drive drive drive on the Autobahn”
1981’s Computer World brought us "Numbers," teaching English speakers to count in German. See the band’s live performance of the track:
In 1986, we got Electric Café and with it "Boom Boom Tschak," which formed part of the MOMA retrospective.
And for a round-up of expected Keller treats, see them all together here:
Kraftwerk plays the Keller Auditorium on Saturday, September 19.