The robots return! Kraftwerk to play Radio City on 50th anniversary tour

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Kraftwerk performing. (Peter Boettcher)

Four German pioneers of electronic music are uniting once more for a Kraftwerk 50th anniversary tour throughout North America — including a stop at Radio City Music Hall on July 18.

Known for robotic behavior, Tron-esque linear clothing, and standing at four individual stations on stage, Kraftwerk will be bringing a 3D style show to Radio City and elsewhere just a few months after fellow electronic act Eric Prydz introduced his own hologram show to NYC and North America.

Kraftwerk changed how music was approached years ago.

Throughout the 1970s and on, Kraftwerk’s at the time experimental approach to synthesized sound paved way to the popularity and advancement of electronic music as a whole, specifically the genres of house and even old-school hip hop. 

The group would also inadvertently inspire and influence six-time Grammy winning electronic duo Daft Punk, whom also donned some robot personas just some generations later.

While some Kraftwerk tracks may sound rudimentary in comparison to modern music production, bear in mind that computers weren’t exactly a household item for Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in Düsseldorf, Germany during the cold war era.

Kraftwerk began its work using analog synthesizers to create baselines and other synths, particularly for the group’s breakout album Autobahn, which had its title track chart number 25 on Billboard’s Top 100 list.

By 1997, the New York Times called Kraftwerk “The Beatles of electronic dance music” for their innovative and aural ways.

Exactly 20 years after that the group won its first Grammy, championing the best dance album of 2017 with 3-D The Catalogue.

Craig Ferguson also poked fun at their emotionless personas in an ongoing late night skit called “Christmas With Kraftwerk” back in 2013.

Kraftwerk’s 3-D show actually began at MoMA in 2012.

The Museum of Modern Art invited in the group to play eight consecutive and sold out nights, each one showcasing three dimensional graphics and visualizations for one of Kraftwerk’s albums for what was the first time.

More recently, Kraftwerk “have returned full circle back to their origins within the Düsseldorf art scene of the late Sixties,” which will likely be reflected in the upcoming North America tour.

Tickets for the group’s Radio City show and the other tour dates will go live online for all at 10 a.m. local time this Thursday.

In the meantime, here’s plenty of Kraftwerk essentials to get you in the mood and spirit of the group’s newest public venture.

Yes, you can still listen to it even if you’re not cruising down the Autobahn.