Sunday, 5 July 2009
kraftwerk in manmachinechester 2nd july 2009
well its been a long time waiting to see the (slighty rusty) robots, around a quarter of a century since i didnt get in to glasgow apollo on the computerworld tour (though my sisters did !) not showing my age or anything am i ? still well worth the wait . although they didnt totally blow me away - what did was the setting and the evening ..........manchester home of the raver, the e dealing joe blogg wearing capital of perties , baked in sunshine like it was the med, a velodrome on the outskirts , steve reich and the biggest asda / walmart i have ever seen !!!!
I arrived stressed and tired from oh so trendy berlin , clubbing capital of europe , where i had performed admirably at a rooftop party for evian water . things we do for money , and it was wednesday ( a school night as we say) .
london - berlin - london - manchester and we arrive .......like sorted mate ! sound ! on one matey ! etc etc .....
as we baked in the heat (very unusual for manchester) devouring becks bier and latte machiattos. we missed the start of steve reich , but caught the last half an hour which was very nice but not perhaps the intestity i had expected . although steve was on the mixing board with a mac , and we were trying to guess what plug-ins he had !!!! i reckoned 'fruityloops:) matt asked him for his autograph but didnt have a pen . and steve set about looking for a pen !
whilst waiting for ralf and florian (oh hes gone too now) i was checking out the vintage teeshirts , the cycling jerseys and the average punters age ( around 45) . i saw a heaven 17 shirt , a brigade rossi shirt , a new order movement shirt, maxell (pete murphy), then the jerseys : motorola (circa sean yates), la vie clair , PDM , a few kraftwerk tricolor jerseys , and some local madchester teams ! thankfully no rapha ponces from london !
i wish i had adorned my vintage peugeot or roland electronics shirt , though both a little small for me these days , but a cut above todays jersey designs !!! or my bright yellow "once" which rich still has ??????
of course a few elderly portly chaps in black and red shirt /tie combos , but not quite helmut lang more like mr byrite .
The kraftwerk merchandise was lame beyond belief apart from the free 3d glasses that would come in handy at 9.30pm .........
when the (neon) lights went down there wasnt a huge roar , just a gentle mumbling of anticipation . The sound of a lone (probably) korg synth cut through the night , and the mobile phones went in the air :( this was it . time for another drink ?
I felt a bit tired and as it was super hot inside the dome i needed a drink , but i really felt the sound was too quiet and the opening tracks a bit flat , massive compression over the mix but a crisp and defined sound...unlike swayzak though we at least improvise pretty good !
We knew what was coming , the visuals were superb and when the moment came , the breaths "ah hi ah ah hi ah " a great roar went up , not for the band but for the velodrome itself , was lit and 4 futuristic cyclists appeared on the track . adorned in the adidas skin suits of germany but in GBR colours , an amazing moment to see the british team in harmony with the german rhythm machine ......as the wound up their speed around the track , of course riding terry dolan bikes ( made in manchester ) no hoy , cavendish or wiggins but this was good enough ! as ralf went through the names of the riders it was as if he was proud too ! as if he had somehow contributed to british cycling (which he had) and we british punters had made kraftwerk what they are (which we did :) pure trans european harmony ........
tour de france :
I was for sure more excited by the the british (yes british) cycling team , as if they were the stars we came to see as they eclipsed the finest electronic band in der welt ! were we here for cycling or for music ? who cares it was great from then on in , and when the 3d visuals appeared big tasty pills dropped out the sky , lcd numbers rained on us and the robots came to life !
not many jokes from ralf or his clones , they were left to the curtain that got stuck between set changes , and a robotic hand came out to pull it . an excellent moment of british comedy . Not much improvisation and no encore was a bit sad but the beats were tight as if they were pre -recorded and of course they were but that didnt matter , this was kraftwerk and they are man machines .....on a sobering note a special "radioactivity" was all about sellafield and how much waste it dumps into our backyard .
at the end of the evening we headed for asda , where it seemed a "perty" was going on , everyone was getting a carry out , and i mean everyone , this is manchester . A man with a giant tennis ball was being chased by security, quite surreal to the eye the neon lights flickered and we headed home in a taxi who didnt know where he was going . I enjoyed manchester and thought would be a nice place to live , until i woke up and typically it was pissing down ..................i could now see where "shameless" gets its scripts , there is a friendly chaos in madchesta loike no other place . but still enough menace to make you wanna leave ! neon lights is still in my brain .