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Kraftwerk's Mesmeric Journey: A Transcendent Night of Sonic Splendor in Sydney.

In the dynamic mosaic of musical history, few strands gleam as brightly as those woven by Kraftwerk. Renowned music journalists champion them as possibly the most influential group in pop history, and their impact resonates deeply within the very tapestry of contemporary music, echoing in every evolution of late 20th-century pop.


The synth-pop renaissance of the 1980s prominently bears Kraftwerk's signature, imprinting on bands like Gary Numan, Ultravox, and Depeche Mode. Their influence sprawls across genres, sculpting the cores of hip hop, house, drum and bass, and trailblazing the electro genre. The Belleville three, originators of techno, drew profound inspiration from Kraftwerk's rhythmic innovations.


Depeche Mode's Martin Gore reveres Kraftwerk as the "godfathers" of electronic music. Daniel Miller, Mute Records' founder, likens owning Kraftwerk's vocoder to possessing Jimi Hendrix's iconic guitar. OMD's Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys openly salute Kraftwerk's impact, even covering "Neon Lights" on their album Sugar Tax.


Kraftwerk's legacy extends to newer artists like Aphex Twin, Ladytron, and Björk, who credit the pioneers for shaping their musical landscapes. Dr. Alex Paterson of The Orb hails The Man-Machine as a timeless favorite, underscoring Kraftwerk's enduring influence.

Beyond music, Kraftwerk's cultural resonance extends to popular culture. David Bowie pays homage to Florian Schneider in "V-2 Schneider," while Joy Division and New Order incorporate Kraftwerk's essence into their post-punk sounds. Siouxsie and the Banshees' rendition of "Hall of Mirrors" earns acclaim from Kraftwerk's Ralf Hütter.


Kraftwerk's reach even extends to television, with "Electric Café" becoming the iconic theme for Saturday Night Live's legendary "Sprockets" sketches.


Their indelible contributions led to a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination in 2019, cementing Kraftwerk's status as musical trailblazers. Their impact transcends temporal boundaries, leaving an everlasting imprint on music and culture's ever-evolving panorama.


The excitement was palpable when the news broke that Kraftwerk would grace Sydney on 06 December as part of their 2023 tour. With no opening act and anticipation reaching its zenith, eager concertgoers filled their seats well before the 8.00 pm commencement.


As the quartet materialized on stage, adorned in their Tron-esque light-up boiler suits, the crowd's punctuality paid off. The two-hour spectacle kicked off with the iconic 'Numbers' from 'Computer World,' accompanied by neon green graphics that danced across the backdrop, captivating the senses and the audience stood enchanted.


Each song, drawn from their extensive repertoire, was a sensory masterpiece. Unique animations and color schemes accompanied every musical journey, ensuring an immersive experience for all. It took until the latter part of the show for the seated audience to surrender to the irresistible beats, but when they did, the arena came alive.

Tracks like 'The Man Machine,' 'Computer World,' 'Das Model,' 'Autobahn,' 'Tour de France,' and 'Trans-Europe Express' elicited thunderous cheers and applause. A standout moment was the floor-shaking rendition of 'Radio-Activity,' an ethereal experience that left the crowd euphoric.


Describing the performance as deliciously retro and beautifully nostalgic is an understatement; Kraftwerk remains as essential and compelling as ever. The visuals compensated for the band's minimal movement, creating a stunning retro-futuristic effect. Each song unfolded alongside dazzling videos that synchronized seamlessly with the quartet's illuminated clothing and workstations.


The zenith of the performance, 'The Robots,' laid bare the band's distinctive stage aura. Beyond the comedic veneer of four men stationed behind keyboards, Kraftwerk's spectacle transcends the ordinary concert; it unfolds as a meticulously crafted, expertly executed journey through the emotions their music has stirred across decades.


It's a tapestry woven with wonder, technology, and a touch of fear—an extraordinary escapade that boldly challenges the norms of a traditional concert. Kraftwerk's Sydney manifestation emerged as a night of transcendent sonic splendor, etching an unforgettable imprint on all those privileged enough to be present.


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Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of AW.


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