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Newly unearthed footage of Kraftwerk—with long hair and leather jackets! Live 1970
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Newly unearthed footage of Kraftwerk—with long hair and leather jackets! Live 1970

All I can say about this is HOLY CRAP. I’ve seen snippets of this, but never the whole show, and in such good condition. Here is the Kraftwerk Rockpalast appearance from 1970, the year the band formed. The lineup here is Florian Schneider (he’s the one playing flute), Ralf Hütter, and drummer Klaus Dinger (RIP 2008), who would soon leave to form NEU! with pianist Michael Rother. This is a Kraftwerk that is often very, very alien to people who mostly know the band from their late ‘70s/early ‘80s incarnation as the teutonically severe/severely teutonic synth pop innovators who affected the personae of robots and mannequins. This was a spiky, angular, experimental, difficult-listening proto-punk music that has very little of the sweetness or wistfulness of something like “Tour De France.” I love how so much of the camera work is devoted to audience reaction.

Here’s some Google-translated info from the WDR website:

In 1970 - its founding year - were Kraftwerk, although already an avant-garde band, their sounds were still exclusively handmade. In songs like “jiffy” or “Stratovarius” they experimented with distorted sounds of flute and Hammond organ. But the monotonous beat and cool arrangements foreshadowed, in which direction their sound would develop only a few years later.

Rockpalast shows for the first time the Soest concert from 1970 in full length at the power plant as a trio (Ralf Hütter - Hammond organ, Klaus Dinger - drums, Florian Schneider-Esleben - Flute) occurred and astonished faces left behind. An absolute rarity then, and a treat for music fans.


A massive debt of thanks to Chunklet‘s Henry Owings for posting this.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
We aren’t the robots (yet): Early Kraftwerk, live 1973

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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