D.A.F. /Luc van Acker Paradiso Amsterdam 24/01/09
D.A.F.! Gabi & Robert! I was so excited I dug out my old threads for this gig; (white blouson, baggy 1940s pants in case you were wondering)…
But before I start...
Before my review, I’d better mention that I read somewhere in the Dutch press that this gig wasn’t as good as the one in 1981 and that Gabi’s voice had gone…. Oh for goodness’ sake… Regardless of the sentiment expressed we can’t help but notice that it isn’t 1981, time passes; so why try to recreate it, or blame someone else that it isn’t 1981? As for Gabi’s voice… is anyone’s voice exactly the same after nearly 30 years? Mine isn’t, motherfucker; that’s for sure. Indeed, should it be? And are the criteria we have to judge all concerts from established or old acts so rigid in that we must compare them to past gigs? Plain idiotic; and I despair of lazy music hacks sometimes. If you want 1981 frozen in time, just go and play Alles is Gut & stay in your bedrooms.
Rant over. Let’s talk at the gig we saw in 2009. On entering the Paradiso, I thought we’d got the wrong night. The place was deserted (and I mean deserted). Hanging around in old threads glumly shifting feet in the stinking and unventilated airport-style section for smokers, trying not to get eye contact with the smattering of heavily made up Goth/Industrial/Gay Rights types wasn’t what we’d hoped for. Still, it was early days yet, so we crept through the shadows to a very eerie main hall. Supporting D.A.F. was ex Revolting Cocks founder (and on this evidence very genial bloke) Luc Van Acker, who gave the still threadbare crowd us a lot of thumping, stentorian but pretty uplifting noise from his (forthcoming?) new LP, a great re-working of Blue Monday and the odd ‘Cocks number. Actually he was great, it’s a shame more weren’t out to see him, but there you go. If you like a good Industrial thrash about, I’d recommend him.
Things were happening; the audience began to turn up: lots of strange mascara’d types and archly preening couples were out; it wasn’t at all the usual grey/bald/lumpy interface you get for eighties bands on the road. There was a hell of a lot of leather and paramilitary gear too. The industrial noise levels went up, the odd bit of dry ice thrown in… perfect for D.A.F.’s entry.
That Gabi’s an enthusiastic puppy is he not? Looking remarkably trim, and obviously feeling the way to stay on his feet was to regularly cover himself with water, he bounded round the stage from left to right and back again, pausing only to operate the contraption that held the programme for each track in readiness. And what with his crackly voice constantly shouting out those strange, almost brittle romantic orders that constitute the band’s lyrics, (e.g. Verschwende Deine Jugend), he seemed intent on literally sending himself dizzy. Der Mussolini came out about three tracks in – possibly a safeguard before Gabi fell over exhausted - and all the Paradiso, young trendies and old fans alike - went beserk. Later the fantastic Die Leuge and the passionate Als Waer’s Das Letze Mal had a similar effect.
Possibly the best parts of the gig were the quieter moments; the added power and amplification allowed the subtle grooves and beats of tracks like Satoh Satoh to stretch their muscles. Encore Der Raeuber under der Prinz was a fabulous car crash of kitsch sentiment and sexual urgency, with many audience members enthusiastically acting out their own private fantasies through the medium of camp dance. It was a really beautiful moment, made perfect by Gabi’s knowing, acknowledging laugh at the song’s end. Time for two more encores too - though by this time the pair of them looked whacked - the brilliant Kebab Traeume and Alles is Gut.
Top night, regardless of what decade we were supposed to be in.
Words Richard Foster
Pics: Mariska van den Hoven