Fans of Kraftwerk got to experience a time warp to 1970s Germany when the elusive band performed their catalogue at NTU Stadium on Tuesday night. The outfit was writing songs like Computer World decades before they became well known — and they did it while creating a new genre of music that fit their futuristic sound: electronica. Some fans leaving the concert said that they now have a better understanding of today’s electronic music. But there were certainly others who left not understanding the concert at all.
Much of what was heard on Tuesday night could be considered a history lesson for electronic music enthusiasts. Kraftwerk’s sound feels like floating in a drug-induced dream and watching snippets of life drift by. Those snippets were actually part of the visual show, as when Taiwan was projected beneath a 3D satellite hurtling towards the audience.
When Kraftwerk played their 1976 song Radioactivity, a recount of past nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and now Fukushima, many of the words were translated for the audience to sing along with. Applause, cheers and a few thousand smartphones were thrust in the air when “No more nuclear power plants in Taiwan” (台灣核能停止) was illuminated across the stage. The minimalist lyrics were sung through a vocoder, which essentially robotized their voices, creating a chilling effect on a haunting message.
What exactly the four members of Kraftwerk were doing on their individual pods for precisely two hours remains a mystery, but what exuded from the stage was so synchronized that they may as well have been four robots.
Australian/British drum and bass/rock band Pendulum also did a DJ set in Taipei last week. Fans packed ATT4FUN at midnight for what turned out to be a high energy show.
Six hundred drum and bass aficionados came out, fervently dancing as fast as they could, as hard as they could, and for as long as they could. Now that’s what I call a vibe. But in fact, it was MC Verse that had the most energy of all. While most MCs were out of a job years ago, MC Verse has been providing an invaluable element to a pendulum show. He yammered on without missing a beat, or taking a break, and his performance in general was rather theatrical, as he spent as much time mid-air as he did with both feet on the ground. It was one of those nights that make me wonder why there aren’t regular drum and bass nights happening in Taipei.
As for the up and coming, the promoters at Cliche Records, who have in just a few short months infiltrated Taiwan with a bevy of banging disco parties that have been very well received, are throwing an impromptu shindig at Pipe tonight. The guest of honor is a DJ best known by the moniker Zimmer. He grew up in both France and California, so his particular spin on disco combines feel-good melodies with tropical elements that are finished off with a French kiss. If you enjoyed Aeroplane a few weeks back, tonight is your jam.
■ Zimmer plays tonight at 10pm at Pipe Live House, 1 Siyuan St, Taipei City (台北市思源街1號). Admission is NT$450 in advance. Tickets at the door are NT$650. www.facebook.com/cliche.records