WOLFGANG FLÜR + PETER DUGGAL + ANZAHLUNG – CONCORDE 2, BRIGHTON 1.10.22
Tonight’s Wolfgang Flür show at the Concorde 2 was rescheduled from Saturday 5th February 2022 due to Covid restrictions. The famed former member of ‘the golden era’ Kraftwerk was the band’s electronic percussionist from 1973 to 1987. He twice performed live in Brighton with the Godfathers of electronic computer pop, when the quartet played at the Brighton Dome Concert Hall on 17th September 1975 and again on 27th June 1981. As a solo artist Flür was last in Brighton four years ago when he performed at The Haunt on 29th September 2018 (Review HERE).
75 year old Flür (aka the ‘MusikSoldat’), was also in Sussex on 15th April 2016, when he opened up the brand new multi-million pound music studio and editing suites at Northbrook College on Littlehampton Road, Goring, prior to his interview and DJ performance at the Connaught Theatre on Union Place in Worthing that night. You can read my account of that night at the foot of this article!
When I met Frankfurt born Flür with my German friend Jan at the Connaught Theatre, there was much banter exchanged, although it was mainly in German. After the evening had concluded, I asked Herr Flür what exactly was his setlist that he had performed. He told me it was a closely guarded secret and that he couldn’t divulge the information, even though he had just played it! That’ll teach me not to write down the updated instrumental versions of Kraftwerk tunes as he dropped them!
Just in case you are wondering what the Kraftwerk Brighton setlists were back in 1975 and 1981. Here you go:
‘Kling Klang’, ‘Tongebirge’, ‘Tanzmusik’, ‘Ruckzuck’, ‘Prolog Im Himmel’, ‘Kometenmelodie 1’, ‘Kometenmelodie 2’, ‘Autobahn’, ‘Mitternacht’ and ‘Kristallo’.
‘Numbers’, ‘Computer World’, ‘Computer Love’, ‘Home Computer’, ‘The Model’, ‘Neon Lights’, ‘Geiger Counter’, ‘Radioactivity’, ‘The Voice Of Energy’, ‘Uranium’, ‘Die Sonne, Der Mond, Die Sterne’, ‘Ohm Sweet Ohm’, ‘Autobahn’, ‘Hall Of Mirrors’, ‘Mitternacht’, ‘Showroom Dummies’, ‘Trans Europe Express’, ‘Metal On Metal’, ‘Abzug’, and ‘Pocket Calculator’
Tonight at the Concorde 2 there were two supporting artists, namely Peter Duggal who is a Music Producer and Composer as well as Music Partner of Wolfgang Flür, and also on the bill were Anzahlung. More on both of them later……
Wolfgang Flür apparently co-created the world’s first electric drum-pads-board with fellow Kraftwerk band member Florian Schneider. I can remember seeing these drum-pads on a 1975 episode of BBC’s “Tomorrow’s World”, which incidentally was the band’s first UK TV appearance. Flür was a member of the influential group (Kraftwerk) from their international breakthrough with the brilliant album ‘Autobahn’ (1974), and remained as they experimented with proto-techno on Kraftwerk’s following five albums – ‘Radioactivity’ (1975), ‘Trans-Europe Express’ (1977), ‘The Man Machine’ (1978), ‘Computer World’ (1981) and ‘Electric Cafe’ (1986).
Frustrated with the half-a-decade it took to produce ‘Electric Cafe’, he left the band after the LP’s release. It wouldn’t be until a 2009 reissue that Flür received an artist credit on the album.
In 1997, he launched his solo career under the name Yamo and released ‘Time Pie’, an album that featured work with the experimental duo Mouse on Mars. In 2000, he published his memoir ‘I Was A Robot’ but the book was pulled momentarily, and re-released with revisions after a lawsuit from the remaining members of Kraftwerk. A 12″ single named after the book appeared in 2004, and it was included on the 2015 release ‘Eloquence: Total Works’, a collection of unreleased Flur tracks dating back to 2002. Then in 2020 Frankfurt born Flür had an album issued with U96 under the title of ‘Transhuman’, this is currently the only Flür release along with his latest 2022 album, ‘Magazine 1’, that I have failed to purchase! This is something that is most certainly going to be rectified!
Surprisingly, the Concorde 2 wasn’t a sell-out tonight, which was rather bemusing considering his history, but the fans in attendance were thankfully of all types and age ranges and were present in order to have an entertaining night.
Flür graced the stage at 9:38pm and for the next 75 minutes (until 10:53pm) thrilled the faithful with, according to my counting, 15 selected tunes which included reworkings of solo material and a few Kraftwerk tracks reimagined in a dance mix style. It was difficult to exactly ascertain what equipment was being used as the Concorde 2 stage is rather high up when you are stationed at the crowd barrier at the very front. But it’s fair to say that there was a laptop in attendance which was emblazoned with a sticker on it of a ‘pickelhaube’ which is his trademark ‘MusikSoldat’ logo. A pickelhaube being a spiked helmet that was worn in the 19th and 20th centuries by Prussian and German military officers, firefighters and police. Flür was clearly twisting knobs and switches on some other live mixing DJ equipment in order to give the event the live feel during his live reworkings of the selected tunes.
The Düsseldorf ‘MusikSoldat’s’ performance had the added benefit of a stage wide backdrop screen, which was playing videos to accompany each tune. As you would anticipate, there were a number of possibly unpublished Kraftwerk behind the scenes photos and videos, as well as historical sections of black and white films, and some decent images of various interesting architectural buildings. There was also a lady wandering all around the stage and crowd with a video camera, which no doubt is collecting some decent footage in order to add to his collection of previous gigs that make up part of the video’s for the backdrop. Both her and Flür were wearing a badge that scrolls the word ‘MusikSoldat’ in red neon lettering.
The loud banging set opened with a mashup of ‘It’s More Fun To Compute’ and ‘Home Computer’ and I was thinking to myself that when I was young a bloke of 75 would more than likely be at home sitting in their favourite chair with a cup of coco and their favourite pipe whilst listening to the wireless! But here we are half a century later and Herr Flür is flying the flag that any young 20 year old would be proud to be doing. This is impressive stuff!
The programmed tracks and live mixes flowed relatively well. My ears were surprised to pick out the sample “Man Nature Technology” as in the Kraftwerk ‘Expo 2000’ epic that was released after Flür had departed. This was a most pleasant surprise! As was the inclusion of his rendition of ‘Neon Lights’, the original of which for me is the best tune by anyone ever! ‘I Was A Robot’ from 2015’s ‘Eloquence’ album was also part of the set. At the end of the set there was decent use of pre-recorded vocoder and ‘I Feel Love’ style beats.
His real live ‘pickelhaube’ did finally briefly make an appearance so that he could march across the stage, but thankfully this was far less than my previous encounter. It had been a fabulous set and the punters agreed with me judging by the whoops and applause at the end.
And now to the support artists……
First up this evening at the Concorde 2 were Brighton based Anzahlung who were born during the Covid lockdown period. They refer to themselves as “Succubus Swing and Doom Disco. Krautrockian Low Fi Electronica with Joe 91 and The Shend”
In November 2020, they dropped their 10 tune debut album titled ‘I’ve Lost My Footing On The World’ on Brighton based label Cupboard Music. This being available to download, and on CD and vinyl junkies were catered for as a mere 100 12” vinyl’s were pressed – Details HERE.
The Anzahlung blurb accompanying the album states:
“Anzahlung were born at the birth of this Sci Fi film with no ending.
Trapped in their isolation pods, Shend and Joe 91 of The Cravats decided to create a strain of sound to silence those horrid horsemen of havoc circling beyond the walls.
Joe, embraced the electric and fired up his keyboards of catastrophe. Bleak beats, austere audio, doom disco, succubus swing; soon the man’s mainframe folders were filled to overflowing.
Shot down the Infobahn to Shend, he added some songs to suit and they both added samples thus ‘I’ve Lost My Footing On The World’ was done and dusted for prints.
10 tracks for our time but who says we can’t dance through the doom . . . . but on our own.
Anzahlung have written a conclusion.
We’re not ready for the credits just yet as we have to let you know about their latest (second) album and their concert performance!
This year Anzahlung dropped their ‘What You Think Is All You’ve Got’ album on FOAD records and this sumptuous silver vinyl being limited to 250 copies. Snap up your copy HERE.
On entry to the venue at just after 7pm this evening, we purchased our liquid refreshments and headed to the front of the venue to catch up with our photographer Andy who was already in place and raring to go! We looked up at the stage and knew that something a tad unusual would be going down with the support artists as on stage right (our left) there was a setup akin to an office desk that was decked out the purple plastic tulips, a white phone, a ceramic cup and saucer and stand in order to hold what one presumed would be the lyrics – indeed that was the case. On the opposite side of the stage, there was a six year old plus MacBook ready for action!
At 7:23pm all was revealed, as Joe 91, the younger of the pair, took up shop behind the MacBook followed by The Shend who seated himself at his office. The Shend being famed as one of the founding members of Redditch punk rock outfit The Cravats, who originally formed back in 1977. He used to take care of the vocals and bass guitar, whereas Joe 91 was adopted into the reformed Cravats outfit back in 2013. So arguably Anzahlung is very much a side project to The Cravats, but for me personally they are miles better than The Cravats who I have never really warmed to.
Anzahlung, which I believe means “down payment” in English, performed an 8 tune set, which was equally split between their two albums. The set lasted a mere 22 minutes and was all that I needed to know that here was an outfit I really wanted to follow! Folks would have never guessed it, but this evening was only the duo’s second ever live outing, with the first being on 25th June in Leuven in Belgium at Het Depot of all places!
Worcestershire born, 64 year old Chris Harz aka The Shend, certainly wasn’t going to fluff any of his lines this evening as he could refer to them from his A4 ring binder “Interim Report” in front of him which was full of all the lyrics. To be honest, he shouldn’t really forget them as he is also an actor who has appeared in the ‘Dr Who’ spinoff ‘Torchwood’ (which is an anagram of ‘Doctor Who’ by the way). A year earlier in 2005, he also appeared in the Luc Besson/Guy Ritchie film ‘Revolver’ and in 2012 appeared in the eye opening film ‘Pusher’.
As with Wolfgang Flür’s later set, Anzahlung also had the benefit of a stage wide rear backing screen which had interesting 50’s sci-fi b movie snippets and the like beamed onto it from a projected located high above the photographers pit.
They begin with a trio of compositions from their current ‘What You Think Is All You’ve Got’ album, in the form of ‘Ghost’, ‘Pet’ and ‘Boneless Man’. It’s clear that this is a quite bizarre clash of two worlds colliding, where you get bangin’ dance rave choonz with a hint of edgy Suicide (‘Ghost Rider’), meets the like of Skinny Puppy (‘Assimilate’), Sheep On Drugs (‘Motorbike’) and Leg Puppy (‘Warm Leatherette’); accompanied by The Shend’s Bobby Boris Pickett style ‘Monster Mash’ spoken rap delivery, which was especially evident on the third number ‘Boneless Man’.
A trio of tracks appeared next from the debut ‘I’ve Lost My Footing On The World’ album, in the form of ‘Standing Still’, ‘I’ve Lost My Footing In The World’ (which is very Leg Puppy) and ‘You’re My Friend’ (which I can hear elements of ‘Ghost Rider’ in.
Their penultimate number, ‘You Won’t Come Back’ took the performance to a new higher level and was very Skinny Puppy and early Sheep On Drugs….wonderful stuff! They end with ‘This Is The End Of The Time Of My Life’ and The Shend rises, salutes and leaves, shortly followed by Joe 91, who had gone one better than Joe McClaine. The time was 7:45pm and it was time to head off to the bar and merch stall in celebration.
The duo clearly enjoyed themselves as they have posted:
“An excellent gathering of folk for our first UK performance, especially as we went on at teatime. Thank you for the marvellous reaction, the superb crew at Concorde 2 and Wolfgang Flür for having us on the bill. What a lovely chap”.
‘Ghost’ (from 2022 ‘What You Think Is All You’ve Got’ album)
‘Pet’ (from 2022 ‘What You Think Is All You’ve Got’ album)
‘Boneless Man’ (from 2022 ‘What You Think Is All You’ve Got’ album)
‘Standing Still’ (from 2020 ‘I’ve Lost My Footing On The World’ album)
‘I’ve Lost My Footing In The World’ (from 2020 ‘I’ve Lost My Footing On The World’ album)
‘You’re My Friend’ (from 2020 ‘I’ve Lost My Footing On The World’ album)
‘You Won’t Come Back’ (from 2022 ‘What You Think Is All You’ve Got’ album)
‘This Is The End Of The Time Of My Life’ (from 2020 ‘I’ve Lost My Footing On The World’ album)
The main support this evening came from Handsworth, Birmingham born and now Hebden Bridge based, Peter Duggal who has been on the case for 32 years. His debut release under the name ‘Doggy’ was an acid house tune titled ‘Psyche’ back in 1990. This was followed by ‘Labyrinthe’ under the banner of ‘Demonik’. The tune was famously sampled by Altern8 for their UK Top 10 single ‘Infiltrate’. Through the 1990s Duggal produced songs for Nintendo and completed remixes for a number of artists under the ‘Doggy’ name. In 2000, he co-wrote and performed (as guitarist) on the song ‘I Pray’ with Apache Indian.
Alongside music, during this time Duggal worked as a computer programmer, developing music education software as well as completing an MSc course in Music Technology in London. After that, he worked on new material including original songs/compositions, soundtrack work, and mixes/remixes for other artists. In September 2015 Duggal began a collaboration with Wolfgang Flür resulting in the initial track ‘Beat Perfecto’ and then as partners for the ‘Magazine’ album which was released on 4th March 2022 and features Claudia Brucken (Propaganda), and Peter Hook (New Order/Joy Division). They are currently working on the ‘Magazine 2’ album which is scheduled for release in March 2023.
As the Anzahlung set had finished at 7:45pm, we had (wrongly) assumed that Duggal’s set would commence at 8pm. We were wrong! In fact we actually waited the exact same minutes as the duration of the whole of Flür’s set, which was 75 minutes, for Duggal’s appearance! This was annoying and I was going all the ball so to speak with all the hanging around. It had become clear that the advertised 10pm curfew was seriously going to be busted! It must now be 11pm and there will be no nightclub afterwards, which was quite surprising being a Saturday night in Brighton. I have to say though, that the fans behave impeccably and there was no real unrest to speak of due to the extended pause.
Bang on 9pm Duggal came on stage. The house lights went down and static appeared on the backdrop. “Shall we play a game?” was blasted over the loudspeakers, with emphasis on the word “loud”, as clearly someone had cranked the amp up to ‘Spinal Tap’ 11. This was quite likely to be the loudest performance thus far at C2 for me, it was heart bursting out of chest and exploding loud!
Duggal positioned himself at his laptop and box of knobs to twiddle, and blips and beeps were the order of the day. His second number reminded me of the most upbeat Jean-Michel Jarre. The tunes flowed and we stood and watched. Not many dancing, but after a 75 minute delay, it’s not surprising. I had peaked for the night, or so I thought, until Duggal performed ‘Birmingham’ which is a collaboration single with himself, Flür, Claudia Brücken (of Propaganda fame) and Peter Hook (of Joy Division/New Order fame). I had not heard this before as I have failed to purchase the album. This I now see had been a massive oversight, as it was seriously well worth leaving the house to simply hear this one song…it was epic and totally rescued Duggal’s set for me. After 37 minutes, Duggal had concluded his performance and Flür was to immediately follow.
It had been a truly magnificent night out, so well done to promoters Family Ents for putting the bands on!
Bonus material – Further Flür reading:
“FROM KRAFTWERK TO SUSSEX” – AN AUDIENCE WITH WOLFGANG FLÜR
‘Connaught Studio’, Worthing 15.4.16
I have to say that I purchased my ticket to see Wolfgang Flür with some trepidation. I had heard so many reports about him and wasn’t really knowing what to expect from his “DJ-set-meets-photo-exhibition-meets-experimental-movie-night” as he likes to call it.
So who exactly is Wolfgang Flür?
He was born two years after the end of World War II (1947) in Frankfurt and is best known for being one quarter of ‘electronic music pioneers’ Kraftwerk. He played electronic percussion with them during their most creative period between 1973 and 1986. In fact he apparently co-created the world’s first electric drum-pads-board with fellow band member Florian Schneider. I can remember seeing these drum-pads on a 1975 episode of BBC’s “Tomorrow’s World”, which incidentally was the bands first UK TV appearance. This fruitful period saw the releases of six world class ground-breaking albums: ‘Autobahn’ (1974), ‘Radio-Activity’ (1975), ‘Trans-Europe Express’ (1977), ‘The Man-Machine’ (1978), ‘Computer World’ (1981) and ‘Electric Café’ (aka ‘Techno Pop’) (1986).
I have been an immense fan of Kraftwerk since purchasing said ‘Autobahn’ album from the sadly closed (since 1986) ‘Polysound’ Record Shop formerly of 15 Gardner Street, Brighton in 1975. The site is currently occupied by ‘Cyber Candy’ sweet shop for those wishing to pay homage. I even purchased a ticket to see them live at the Brighton Dome in 1978, but alas that particular tour was cancelled. However, I did get to see them appear there in 1981 and several times around England since.
So Heir Flür is an important figure in my life and so I do not want my vision of this ‘Musik Soldat’ (“music soldier”) as he refers to himself to be marred in any way, so tonight’s performance has a lot to live up to.
After hot-footing it from a special tour of the comprehensive recording studio complexes of Northbrook College’s music department, Flür’s evening was split into two contrasting halves. First half being in the form of a career spanning interview by lecturer and writer Thomas H Green, who is an authority on electronic music and the history of club culture. This was followed by a Q & A from several members of the lucky (sold out capacity 232) crowd. The most amusing crowd statement question being “Have I got a beard?” by one rather nervous chap.
After a 15 minute interval, we were treated to the uplifting second half. This basically was a pumping-clubby-DJ-set by Wolfgang comprising of some of his own released material, such as ‘Cover Girl’ (which some would argue is a nod to Kraftwerk’s famous UK number one single ‘The Model’), ‘Beat Perfecto’ and ‘I Was A Robot’ from his recent ‘Eloquence’ album. He also blasted out beefed-up instrumental versions of Kraftwerk tracks ‘Home Computer’ and ‘Dentaku’ (the Japanese version of their awesome ‘Pocket Calculator’ single) and surprisingly to me the stand-out track of the night ‘Overdrive’ by fellow ex-Kraftwerker Karl Bartos project Elektric Music.
The whole set was successfully complimented by a captivating slide show of rare photos of Flür and Kraftwerk images and modern architectural buildings.
I totally enjoyed this rare and unique evening but I am not so sure about his ‘Blade Runner’ style marching toy soldier routine though!
Other Kraftwerk related reading:
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