Gabi Delgado would have turned 64 on the 18th of April, but time had already taken him from us. The DAF singer was one of a kind, and his rise from the Ratinger Hof to headliner at music festivals was a complicated one. It involved sleeping on the floor at Dan Miller’s mother’s home in Temple Fortune, ditching most of the band with Robert Görl, crafting the template for post-disco German dance music, a volatile relationship with Görl, attempts to break America, (unfounded) accusations of racism, provocative PR based on Baader-Meinhof, millions of cigarettes, and enough plastic bottles of water to make Greta cry.
In this early clip of Delgado and Görl on stage at Berlin’s legendary SO36 venue, the duo showcase the raw energy and minimalist tension of their act. Shorn of the other early members, this DAF lit up the night for three influential albums in rapid succession before flaming out temporarily. They would get back together over the years, to show new generations of artists how it should be done, but this period represented the core DAF experience. With his limbs waving and lines shouted with punk determination, this was Delgado’s assault on the cultural domination of Anglo-American music and domestic schlager. DAF won the skirmish, but the war goes on.