Gig Review: Wolfgang Flür at Metronome

Words: Lawrence Poole
Photos: Lawrence Poole, Michael Prince
Saturday 20 April 2024
reading time: min, words
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‘The Beatles and Kraftwerk may not have the ring of The Beatles and the Stones, but, nonetheless, these are the two most important bands in music history’. It’s a bold statement, but one which holds real merit. Made by NME journalist Neil McCormick, when you look at the sheer volume of influential electronic acts who cite the pioneering Dusseldorf quartet as ground zero for the genre (New Order, Ultravox, OMD, Depeche Mode, Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem to name but a few) it clearly holds water.

So, when one quarter of that legendary four-piece, Wolfgang Flür, pencilled in a date in Notts to promote 2022’s solo release Magazine 1 and its forthcoming follow-up Magazine 2 - it was a must-see event.

Now 76, the Frankfurt native spent 14 years with the electronic collective before departing in 1987 and his pride and passion for their cutting edge output is clearly evident here.

And Metronome is the perfect vehicle to showcase Kraftwerk and Flür’s majesty owing to their exemplary sound system, lighting and visuals - it’s easy to see why all the dance music tastemakers are plumping for it when scheduling their tour schedules these days.

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Arriving on stage in front of a picture of presumably himself as a child, Flür takes us on a journey through some of the greatest electronic music ever made backed by something of a brilliant scrapbook of visuals guiding us through the German’s extraordinary career.

From the propulsive Neon Lights to the prophetic The Robots, its veritable feast for the ears and eyes.

When Flür takes his dapper blazer off and switches on a scrolling electronic name tag which repeatedly reads Musik Soldat (music soldier), it’s hard not to reflect that he has been at the forefront of technological advances for over 50 years now and is still bang up for the challenge.

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This is no nostalgia-fest either, with Das Beat, Best Buy and Birmingham all hitting the mark from his most recent long-player, which on record features contributions from some of the acolytes who revere him (Peter Hook, Midge Ure, Carl Cox).

When Flür dons a reproduction of the helmet he wore as child and struts about the stage knowingly as he has done everywhere from Blackpool to Guadalajara, he’s clearly having as much of a ball as those on the dancefloor. He departs as ‘Music Not War’ scrolls across the screen. Amen to that.
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