Hallogallo 2010, Barbican, London


Motorik still euphoric in a Neu! setting

When Michael Rother and the late Klaus Dinger created the cosmic-bulldozer riffs for which their band, Neu!, became famous, there wasn't exactly an overwhelming demand for them to perform live. Like Nick Drake and Tim Buckley, Neu! were only truly celebrated in their absence, the lingering power of their music forcing its way into the collective cultural consciousness.

A decent argument could be made for the "Neu! motorik" – the distinctive rolling groove which carried along the band's long, soaring space-jams – being one of the first viral music successes. But by the time David Bowie and Brian Eno began dropping the band's name, around the time of Low and Heroes in the late-1970s, Neu! were no more, Dinger and Rother having gone their separate ways.

This concert, then, is something of a long overdue affirmation for musicians and audience alike: some of us have waited the better part of four decades to hear this music live. It also confirms that, contrary to received wisdom, you can go back, provided you have strong enough support. Rother is returning to Neu! classics like "Hallogallo" and "Für Immer" in the company of the Tall Firs bassist Aaron Mullan and the Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley.

Rother spends the entire show half-hidden behind a chest-high table that supports his laptop, wires and effects gizmos from which he teases the distinctive distorted sound for his white Stratocaster guitar. But Shelley is a gripping enough focus of attention, driving the grooves along with implacable power. The show opens with a twitch and a throb of laptop noise and a few tentative tendrils of guitar; then Shelley launches into that familiar rolling beat and we're off.

The sound is like an overloaded bomber lumbering down a runway, straining for take-off, which comes just before the runway runs out as Rother sends the first of his characteristic, wiry guitar lines swirling off into the skies. A wave of euphoria sweeps around the hall as the infectious trance-rock groove of "Hallogallo" does its stuff.

Mullan's importance becomes clear when, during the second piece, his equipment fails and he has to have his bass direct-injected into the PA system. When his part reappears in the mix it supplies the hypnotic, throbbing undercarriage upon which Shelley builds up a rolling groove on tom-toms and snare, pushing it along with a series of fills and cymbal splashes as each piece develops a bulldozer momentum. Switching between sticks and mallets, Shelley sets up a tribal pow-wow groove of the sort that Jaki Liebezeit used to provide for Can, while Rother retains control over a heavily-distorted guitar sound that always seems to be on the verge of chaos.

Ultimately, this is an exercise in the raw power of linear musical logic, the Krautrock equivalent of Status Quo. It is always apparent where the music is heading yet there is a magnetic fascination to the way its grip seems to tighten as each piece develops. But could the Quo conjure such rushes of euphoria as we experience tonight?

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor