Review and Photography by John Bentley

There’s a good turnout at the Brudenell tonight to see a rare UK live show from ex-Kraftwork member Wolfgang Flür. Flür appeared as electronic percussionist on all Kraftwerk’s classic albums from 1974’s ‘Autobahn’ to 1986’s ‘Electric Cafe’. The audience at the Brudenell is a really unusual mix, ranging from long-in-the-tooth Kraftwerk fans to young enthusiasts of everything techno and electronica. As we slowly file into the Club a German lady with a crowd of friends pauses at a Wolfgang Flür set times flier on the wall, takes out her pen and marks an ‘umlaut’ over the ‘u’ in Flür. Well, they ought to get it right didn’t they, even if Lemmy misused the symbol for Motörhead.

Wolfgang Flur, Leeds Brudenell Social Club

It’s an all ‘electronic’ bill tonight and starting us off is a collaboration of two bands Virginia Wing and Xam Duo. For the record Xam Duo is actually two moonlighting members of Leeds band Hookworms. The collaboration resulted in the album ‘Tomorrow’s Gift’ in 2017. Very experimental, the result is a sort of ambient jazz with beats. Amongst the electronics there’s some nice saxophone playing too.

Virginia Wing and Xam Duo, Leeds Brudenell Social Club

Second up is Peter Dugall who performs a well-received solo set from his computer. The set is diverse in style and moods, making references towards various bands like Orbital, Depeche Mode and New Order. Watching a bloke standing at a computer for 40 minutes may not sound too thrilling, but there are interesting projected backdrops that provide an engaging visual element throughout.

Peter Dugall, Leeds Brudenell Social Club

While the current version of Kraftwerk (in which only Ralf Hütter remains from the classic line-up) is notoriously publicity shy, formal and manipulative of image, Flür seems to be exactly the opposite. He makes no attempt to look trendy and accepts that he’s a bespectacled man of 70. He seems eminently accessible and ready to engage the audience and is full of beans. He dances and gyrates behind his computer all evening and seems to have real sense of humour, even using plugs for his album (‘Eloquence’) and written invitations to the audience to dance as part of the projected backdrop imagery. Given Kraftwerk’s rather serious and formal static image, Flür is a complete contrast: he’s more like an enthusiastic club DJ and the audience responds and really goes nuts with dancing.

Wolfgang Flur, Leeds Brudenell Social Club

Unafraid to take the mick out of himself, the film footage features Flür wearing a pickelhabe, the spiked Prussian helmet worn in the age of imperial Germany: in the film he is seem hilariously marching up and down streets in various parts of the world like a toy soldier and at the end of the gig he even dons the said helmet from under his desk and parades around the stage to audience cheers.

Wolfgang Flur, Leeds Brudenell Social Club

Wolfgang Flur, Leeds Brudenell Social Club

Nevertheless, Flür is here to entertain us with his music and the opening backdrop introduces him as a ‘musik soldat’, which is to say that he is a foot-soldier for music. He has described his show as ‘a musical presentation’ and tonight we get a lot of very hard-edged techno and electronica -not exactly Kraftwerk, but there are quite a few Kraftwerk references, such as a mix including bits of ‘Neon Lights’. The projections on the screen include a lot of pictures of his old band, both album cover type publicity shots and seldom seen informal pictures of Kraftwerk members, which is a real delight to fans and wholly complements the music.

Wolfgang Flur, Leeds Brudenell Social Club

A delightful evening’s entertainment from the wonderful Mr Flür. Our gain is Kraftwerk’s loss.

Wolfgang Flur, Leeds Brudenell Social Club

Wolfgang Flur, Leeds Brudenell Social Club

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