In a really cool new essay on Electronic Beats, Dimitri Hegemann—founder of Tresor, one of Berlin's most historically important techno clubs and, eventually, labels—recalls seeing Kraftwerk perform their very first gig in 1970. As luck would have it, footage of that concert has somehow made it onto YouTube, and we've got it streaming above.
As Hegemann notes, this is Kraftwerk before they became the group known for revolutionizing electronic music with classic records such as 1978's The Man Machine and 1981's Computer World. At this point in their career, they're still playing krautrock: a freeform, experimental take on American psychedelic rock.
Hegemann's piece has some terrific descriptions, leant with the utmost German precision: "For eight minutes, Hütter sends a droning sound through delays and effect units, before the first rhythm starts, with Klaus Dinger on drums," he writes. "Florian Schneider plays a Jethro Tull-style flute and the vibraphone, plus various indefinable sounds, but almost all of it is still created with analogue instruments. The audience is bobbing their heads, some with their eyes closed. Part of the crowd sits on the floor with their legs crossed, and some frenetically clap along to the beat. During one of the songs, a guy in a Mod outfit keeps loudly blowing a whistle."
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