Jennifer Hsu, Video Producer, WNYC Interactive
Jennifer Hsu produces videos about news and culture for WNYC. She is the creator of the ongoing Know Your Neighbor video series of intimate portraits about living in New York City.
Electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk began an eight-night residency at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday night.
The seminal band presented its 1974 album Autobahn and surprised fans by also playing many of the biggest hits from its nearly 40-year career—including "Trans-Europe Express," "The Robots," "The Model" and "Tour de France"—and showing off new 3D videos.
Soon after the museum announced the Kraftwerk concerts, fans bemoaned how tough it was to score a ticket. Only 450 tickets were available for each of the eight shows, and they sold out immediately. An online spoof about the MoMA ticket craze surfaced on YouTube. At press time, there was one ticket available for Saturday night's show, on a ticket-reseller site, for an astronomical $1,650.
According to WNYC music host John Schaefer (Soundcheck, New Sounds), there are many reasons why the Kraftwerk concert tickets are some of the most sought-after in town.
"Kraftwerk is a cult band," he said. "They just have multiple cults following them."
Schaefer says for almost 40 years, the group has been something to many — "the electronica fans, who hear the pioneers of the visceral pounding sounds that today blare out of enormous speakers at dance music festivals around the world; the hip-hop fans, who respond to the band’s clean, simple textures, so easily sampled and malleable; the hipsters, who sense the irony in the band’s cool, robotic demeanor; and the alternative pop fans, who know a great tune when they hear one."
Afrika Bambaataa, Jay-Z, Coldplay, U2 and New Order have all covered or sampled Kraftwerk in their music. The retrospective is the first time the quartet from Düsseldorf, Germany — led by its lone original member, Ralf Hütter — has played a gig in New York since 2005.
The MoMA Kraftwerk concert series runs through April 17.