Dan Deacon - The Scala, London 26/09/12
I am not immensely fond of the Scala as a venue. It's too cramped, there are too many different levels and something about it doesn't feel quite right. I was not, however, going to let my mild dislike of the place put me off seeing Dan Deacon, who's had an excellent year with the release of America.
First on stage, in support, were Super Pattern. I struggled with the group; while they had an interesting sound there was a certain something lacking. The vocals, while not awful, weren't quite up to par - it wasn't out-of-tune warbling but real enthusiasm and character was missing. The vocals were a huge part of their sound and the somewhat flat performance given here unfortunately damned a otherwise promising band into mediocrity.
Dent May, on the other hand, was an excellent performer. For those not accustomed to his music he comes across as a slightly more electro-pop Pavement. His discography is filled with solid, if not amazing, material but his main strength as a live performer comes with how tight and well drilled his band are. They hardly missed a beat throughout their set, and managed to perform with a enthusiasm and energy that was greatly heartening. Ultimately for all the flashy and exciting things a band can do sometimes real quality is found in sheer competency. It was obvious that the rest of the audience was equally positive about Dent, I heard excited mutterings as he left and the venue was suddenly in very good spirits.
The set up for Dan Deacon then began in a frenzy. A space was cleared, by the man himself, at the front of the audience. Two drum kits were brought to the centre of the stage and a desk full of electronic devices was placed on the floor amongst the crowd. Crazy lights and gadgets were left precariously dangling over the audience. In no time at all, Dan Deacon stepped down to his desk to address the assembled crowd. This was perhaps the longest, and most entertaining pre-gig amble I have ever heard. Those who have seen Dan Deacon perform before will know how oddly special he is, and as soon as he had everybody crouching on the floor (pointing at those who refused to join in) I knew this was going to be a show to remember.
To be honest, I hardly remember what was played at the gig. The music ceased to matter. An excellent version of 'Build Voice' was played at one time, I'm pretty sure, but Dan Deacon's game plan seemed, at times, to be about everything but the music. Dance competitions were organised, captains were chosen to lead us in synchronised dancing, a smart phone app was used to turn the audience into a light show and, best of all, we were required to form a human tunnel through the venue and outside (I think it went outside, I was part of the tunnel that was in a corridor).
I think Deacon understands the limitations of what he can do as a live performer. Due to the electronic nature of his music he's going to struggle to put on a real performance without resorting to these crazy antics. It's remarkable, therefore, that he's managed to make his gigs quite as amazing as they are. I suppose, if you wanted to, you could stand at the back, refuse to get involved and have a lovely time listening to the great music. But for those that want a real experience Dan Deacon provides an excellent show that has to be seen.
Label: Carpark Records Release date: 26/04/09 Link: Official Site OK, now wait a minute â hereâs a remix EP by Dan Deacon? And itâs from Bromst? What to do with these percussion indebted compositions, the layers of electronics, and Deaconâs sense of balanced insanity? Of course the right answer would be to let Deacon remix (or Deakin remix) his own stuff and get in a few of the best remixes to emphasize the pop and dance aspects of the fine use of repetition. Instead, the result ... [read more]
Dan Deacon never really much liked being called 'wacky'. I mean, yeah, he called an album Spiderman of The Rings, 'Woof Woof' is a beat constructed on the basis of a dog's bark, he does standup comedy, and then this exists, but there's always been something lurking beneath Deacon's helicopter hat exterior. [read more]
Label: Carpark Release date: 28/03/11 Link: Official Website Oh Adventure, what happened to you? Before this new era of Lesser Known, you were somebody I could totally get down with. A paragon of combination 8-/16-bit dancey goodness that reeled and made giddy, something truly worthy of sharing half a disc with the venerable Dan Deacon. Now things have changed, oh how they have shifted. You see, readers, for how much I truly enjoyed and have come to solidify Adventureâs self-titled de... [read more]
Artist: Dan Deacon Album: Bromst Label: Carpark Website: Dan Deacon When it was released in January many people were saying that Merriweather Post Pavilion was the first contender for the coveted âalbum of the yearâ. Two months later and fellow Baltimore resident Dan Deacon has released an album which will be a serious contender to that crown. Build Voice opens the album and literally builds from nothing, silence for five seconds before the sampled voice chanting âoh dear oh de... [read more]