It’s no surprise that bootlegs of Dan Deacon’s live shows don’t do the rounds on the Internet in the manner enjoyed by other US musicians who rarely grace these shores. Indeed, listening to a Deacon performance from the comfort of your living room would nearly be as absurd as the show itself, given the audience participation involved and how multisensory his shows have become. At the heart of it, it’s still a gig – a musician, playing music (predominantly 1000bpm CAPSLOCK techno that sounds like toddlers licking batteries) to a crowd who enjoy his albums. But Deacon also brings an element of the wacky gameshow, casting himself as the madcap host: twice he organises his audience into a circle so the more exhibitionist crowd members can dance off against each other.
He also, for a set piece finale that must be the oddest thing Fabric has ever witnessed, arranges a round of ‘Oranges and Lemons’ that snakes in and out of the entire building. But while the whimsy may mask the questionable quality of the music, Deacon’s daftness charges the experience with an inescapable bonhomie, and for a genre typified by moody bearded types hunched over laptops, his show is stupidly uplifting – literally.
By Sam Walton
Originally published in issue 22 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. October 2010