Kraftwerk are confirmed to play two shows at the London Royal Festival Hall on October 4 and 5.
The gigs look likely to be their only appearances in the UK this year and sources close to the band have told NME they will be playing two sets featuring music recorded before 1974’s ‘Autobahn’ album. It would be the only time they’ve played pre-‘Autobahn’ material live in this country. Each set will be three to four hours long.
Kraftwerk recorded three albums before ‘Autobahn’. They were ‘Kraftwerk’ (or ‘Highrail’), ‘Kraftwerk 2’ and ‘Ralf And Florian’ and were radically different from the structured formalism and electronic beats the band have become widely known for. Kraftwerk’s performance is part of a celebration of electronic music on the South Bank being organised under the working title of ‘Machines’. Cabaret Voltaire and BEF are among electronica forerunners expected to appear.
Meanwhile, confusion still surrounds the release of any new Kraftwerk music. The band’s UK agent says there is no release planned for this year while German sources claim tapes have already been delivered to the band’s German label. A German source has told NME that Kraftwerk’s Ralf H|tter delivered music to EMI’s D|sseldorf office a month ago. “When the MD got back from lunch his secretary told him that a ‘really rude cycle courier’ had stormed into the office with his bike over one shoulder and slammed a bag of tapes on to her desk. “When the MD looked in the bag he found out that it contained tapes of new Kraftwerk music.”
Finally, Kraftwerk are the latest name to be added to this year’s Tibetan Freedom concert in Washington DC on June 13 and 14. Other acts confirmed for the show include REM, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Sonic Youth, Wyclef Jean and Beastie Boys. The concert is staged to aid the Milarepa Fund in its efforts to help the Tibetan people who have lived under decades of violent oppression at the hands of the Chinese Government.