Dan Deacon's live show is unlike any you’re ever likely to see, which is fitting for an artist who is so outside the norm and known for conducting euphoric electronic symphonies with layers of distorted vocals. [Text by Marci, photos by Chris.]
After the stage was cleared by the opening acts, Deacon set up directly in front of the stage on the floor of Crowbar, his array of sonicboards, pedals, synths and other sound-warping gear spread out over a rectangular black table with wires sprouting every which way, and a glowing sparkly, green skull propped up on a pole shed light on it all. He kicked off the set with a bizarre stream of consciousness story that he encouraged us to repeat along with him. Then, euphoria, as Deacon launched directly into "Of the Mountains" from his amazing 2009 album, Bromst, and everyone present swarmed and bounced around him.
After the first two songs, he directed us to get into a huge circle. He then chose one guy and one girl to enter the circle and compete in a dance off, each tagging in the next person to dance. Everyone was crammed against his music stand, and kept pushing it back towards the stage further and further, but it didn't even seem to phase him — he just kept right on making music. It was one of those moments TV shows and films have attempted to recreate in every club and concert scene, ever — an unruly mass of sweating, jumping, fist-pumping youths caught completely in the moment.
There are a couple things I learned about a Dan Deacon show that I'll remember for the next. First, dress comfortably; the whole show is a workout with crouching, bending, human tunnel making, human tunnel exploring, and of course, uncontrolled and unabashed dancing. Secondly, I was very glad I was told about his app before the show started, which he uses to turn the crowd into an extension of his performance. When he gives the signal, you click on the app and your phone is taken over as he controls the brightness, speaker and flash. This was the final show of the tour, but if we're lucky he'll be back with his app and his stories and his euphoria, and I hope Tampa is ready.