Wham City pied piper Dan Deacon commands a gleeful mob at Will’s Pub
THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Dan Deacon, Will’s Pub, Nov. 6
There are many reasons to get hyped for a Dan Deacon show. First, unlike most electronic artists, he’s one of those unicorns who are uniquely famous for their live shows, which are spectacles that have less to do with any big-budget production than all-out crowd participation and pure fervor for the music. Moreover, the Baltimore cult hero seldom comes to Orlando for some reason. Since his dazzling emergence in 2007, I’ve seen him here twice, and both encounters were transformative, transcendental live experiences.
Since around the time he was last here in 2012, Deacon has been in something of a non-pop moon, with film scoring and notable forays into contemporary classical. Now, after nearly seven years, he returns. And though interesting and notable as all these recent academic expansions have been, the fact that he’s coming back – not just to our city but to the music that first made the indie world lose its collective shit over him – is reason to go nuts. And his shows are built for precisely that.
By now, Dan Deacon fans don’t just go to his shows to listen to the music, they go to embody it. The joy and mania of his digital pop ecstasy ripple outward in their bodies like corporeal sound waves. And the effect is instant, no warm-up needed. Less than 10 minutes in, he had the room popping off like a rave in full swing.
More than just performer, Deacon also plays the masterful maestro to all the action, leading the packed house through a tag-team dance contest:
… a full-room mirrored dance-off (kicked off by Deacon’s own dad, who was in attendance):
… and, of course, his famous human tunnel that led everyone out onto the sidewalk, stretched the whole block and then circled back inside:
At Dan Deacon shows, audience participation is elevated to en masse performance. There are no passive bystanders here and this is no ordinary live event. It’s more mob communion than it is concert.
And it says something – something empowering and egalitarian – that the biggest excitement came more from being in the crowd than anything on stage. When Deacon’s music and congregation rendezvous, the destination is always the state of maximum euphoria.