Usually reserved for selling festival memories the merchandise stalls scattered around Henham Park on Sunday are giving something away free of charge.
The complimentary gift, a pair of 3D glasses, will be worn by those gathered in front of the Obelisk Arena stage later tonight for Kraftwerk’s headline performance at Latitude festival. The Saturday evening booking sees the German electronic foursome sandwiched between two acts whose closing sets couldn’t have been more opinionated. Bloc Party’s Friday set failed to excite on Friday with a handful of reviews asking if the lad’s ten-year career could be coming to a close whilst Foals will play such a memorial set tomorrow evening their inaugural headline set is bound to secure them further into the limelight.
The three-dimensional gimmick quickly wears thin after a pair of robotic hands reaches out into the crowd after opener ‘The Robots’ although the novelty is one to be admired. Although we wouldn’t expect anything else from the band that recently played their eight albums in full at the Tate Modern on consecutive nights, always thinking outside the boxed confinements of four men behind their keyboards the billing conjointly matches the three day-event which offers so much more than live music.
Whilst others choose poetry, literature readings or spasmodic plays acted out in woodland environments the crowd are captivated for the first few tracks performed in front of a huge monitor projecting relevant images to counteract the music. For example we learn how to count to eight in German through ‘Numbers’, which reached number achtundfünfzig in the UK charts back in 1981and reminders how our dearly missed old PC’s used to be back in the nineties whilst the chords to ‘Computer World’ and ‘Home Computer’ are played out.
Unfortunately it’s not just the words which seem to repeat themselves during the set listing, as the eighty minute slot materialises you can’t stop thinking the band have been pressing the ‘Enter’ key once too often.
The lack of variety loses the crowd after their most successful release ‘The Model’ is put back into the wardrobe. Their 1978 chart-topper may never go out of fashion, but after its seasonal outing the arena disrobes with festival goers wandering over to the BBC Radio 6 stage to catch the remainder of Alt-J’s set.
Staying on the same tracks Kraftwerk take us down the motorway for ‘Autobahn’ although they rarely move over to the fast lane and occasionally leave the remaining crowd trying to occupy their time stuck in the hard shoulder. Moving into second gear ‘Tour De France’ gives us enlightenment, the track reached the top ten upon its original release in 1983 yet a second outing in 2003 only achieved half the success. Tonight both versions are played back-to-back which takes the edge off the cycle ride, similar to Chris Froome wearing the yellow jersey again in a few years time you can never match the excitement of winning your first race albeit by pedal or overtaking lesser popular artists in the singles charts.
The rays of ‘Radioactivity’ exposed us to the techno-vibe medium-wave frequencies of the World Service before taking us on a more familiar and first-class journey on the Trans-Europe Express which should had been the final stop, however the rest of the set started to plod along with little variety until Falk, Fritz, Henning and the band’s only original member Ralf started to leave the stage one-by-one to a lukewarm applause.
Kraftwerk Setlist – Latitude – 20 July 2013
The accessible campsite at Latitude is perfect and secure, despite being located a short walk from the car park. The staff, from Attitude is Everything are extremely friendly and a taxi service is on hand to escort you down to the main arena. A fantastic touch is that disabled campers are also permitted access to the guest bar. The wristbands are discreet so you aren’t ‘labelled’ disabled although the laminate careers wear around their necks which allow disabled guests to swap their carer throughout the weekend are a little embarrassing. It’s a terrific idea, although maybe a subtle badge would be a better angle so it doesn’t ‘advertise’ the fact you need an assistant?
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