Michael Rother, Xam Duo – The Brudenell – 27/9/16

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I’ve been wanting to see Michael Rother for a long time and I’m so glad to report that he exceeded all expectations – a fantastic night of harmonious guitar and punishing repetative beats that had everyone smiling from ear to ear.

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Support came from ‘Xam Duo‘ who used analogue synths to make a great noise that was a throwback to early Krautrock, full of odd looping noises that came around and blended in before disappearing in an ocean of synth-loveliness…..some nice sax thrown in too.

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I became a little obsessed with Neu! after hearing ‘Hallogallo’ (the opening track on their debut LP) many moons ago. To find out Michael Rother had been instrumental in early Kraftwerk, that Bowie and Eno had courted him whilst in Berlin and finding his ‘Harmonium’ stuff made him a hero to me. I bought myself the box set of their LPs as a birthday present to myself when it came out and have been wearing the accompanying bright orange T-shirt with alarming regularity ever since.

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Tonight was a masterclass in sustained notes that fell effortlessly from his guitar (I kept thinking “Wow! What would ‘Heroes’ have sounded like if they’d got it together”). Band mate Franz Bargmann did the donkey work, madly strumming his guitar with a fierce energy and amazing repetition. Hans Lampe on drums brought to life the distinctive Neu! beat that has been riped off so many times by other bands!

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A fantastic night from a real pioneer who managed to make these 40+ year old tunes sound fresh and vital as ever – Go catch him if you can!

Bob the Chiropodist

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