By LJ Moskowitz
Several thousand minds were blown at the Electric Factory in Philly last night as electronic pioneers, Kraftwerk, created a visual and audio experience completely unique to even the most experienced of concertgoers. Kraftwerk has long been on the cutting edge of technology and their current tour continued that trend.
The rain soaked crowd entered the balmy venue and were immediately handed the 3D glasses required to fully appreciate what would be a cutting edge visual experience. The curtain opened to the traditional Kraftwerk stage set up of the four German musicians standing placidly behind keyboards. There was a gasp in the crowd as the 3D visuals projected not only on the screen behind the band, but onto the band itself.
Kraftwerk’s legacy has been important across multiple genres of music. Their influence on the electronic music scene goes without saying. They are the progenitors of techno and one could easily argue the new wave bands borrowed so heavily from their work that they could be considered the godfathers of they 80’s sound and every thing that descended from it. Often overlooked, however, was their contribution to early rap and hip hop. The first song they performed last night, “Numbers”, has been sampled over a hundred times starting with the 1982 hit, “Planet Rock” by Soul Sonic Force.
The audio aspect of the concert was impeccable, but it was the visuals that moved the audience from spectators into willing participants of an artistic experience. Looking out over the crowd while the band performed recalled photographs of movie patrons wearing 3D glasses in the 1950s. The house would move in unison in response to the computer graphics and shout their approval at particularly spectacular imagery. The segment receiving the most accolades was during the track, “Spacelab” as the exterior of the Electric Factory was brought inside and invaded by an alien spaceship.
The diverse crowd seemingly had little in common. There was the usual hipster crowd that gathers at every show at the venue mixed in with long time fans bearing German accents. I saw more than a few kids in their early teens escorted with eager parents. There were, predictably, more than a couple of people trying in earnest to do the robot during the song “Robots”. The one thing everyone seemed to have in common was awe at the spectacle they were experiencing together.
As the crowd poured out of the venue after the two-hour show, the terms, “amazing”, “incredible” and “awesome” were on the lips of most of the crowd. The show was all of those things, but most impressive is that after more than 40 years in the music industry, Kraftwerk can still astonish audiences.
LJ Moskowitz is a photographer and writer based out of New Jersey specializing in concert, product and fine art photography. She is an active member of the National Press Photographers Association and Professional Photographers of America. You can find her at Shutterchick Photography, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.