Scenes From Dan Deacon's Crazy Display at Dada This Weekend.
By Heather Abbott on Monday, October 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM
For the final Texas stop of his current tour, Baltimore-based DIY musician and artist Dan Deacon brought some magic to Club Dada on Friday night -- along with some of his Wham City collaborators, including Height with Friends, Chester Endersby Gwazda and Alan Resnick, each of whom brought out some of their own weirdness to showcase.
By far the strangest was Alan Resnick and his 20-minute descent into a how-to on making an avatar. Resnick, dressed like a talk-show host and speaking as fanatical as one as well, utilized a video projector to humorously explain avatar-building technology to his seated congregation. Yes: They really were seated. Alan had asked the crowd to sit down politely and, just like sheep, the people sat down.
It was a sign of things to come on this night, as this game of listening and reacting (read: participating or being sorry) continued throughout the night.
Deacon, himself well known for his large-scale, interactive and "Simon Says" type of performances, continued this trend by the time his headlining set arrived.
A dance-off? You got it.
Pleas to touch the head of the person in front of you? Done.
Building a bridge of humans? Absolutely.
At one moment, Deacon directed the crowd through near-mandatory movement and participation. Another moment later, he would remain silent and entranced by his own music, almost as if he was allowing the crowd to do the same at their own free will.
Strangely enough, even while people were being guided around the venue by a man behind a microphone, the whole display felt akin to experiencing total freedom. Ignorance, it seems, can be bliss, and the controlled audience seemed extremely pleased either way.
Deacon's hyped-up and happy eight-bit-indebted offerings, layered with vocal manipulation, provided the perfect landscape for such crowd activity.
"Anything can happen and anything is music," he once said in an NPR interview. And, on his most recent record, America, he explores that idea through the topography of music.
On this night, though, he looked like a grand wizard behind his table and his maze of wires, knobs and electrical tape. Fans looked on in awe at the amount of glorious sounds he produced with his massive table of controls and his live band (including two drummers to keep up).
Midway through his set, nearly every patron in the venue was moving. The best part was that nobody seemed to care what he or she looked like. This was no ordinary club night out.
At times, Deacon had the venue turn on its bright, fluorescent lighting to help him better conduct all of his hustle and bustle. There was no hiding here; you could see everybody and every move they made on the dance floor.
Passersby on the street could also see. And, out of sheer curiosity as to what the hell was happening inside Club Dada, onlookers stopped by continuously throughout the night, many of them eventually convinced to partake in the goings-on themselves.
When Deacon finally finished with his long set, more than one new fan excitedly professed a newfound love for his music to anyone who would listen. Many thanks were yelled at the top of lungs.
Deacon, to his credit, seemed humble in taking the compliments, offering up sweaty, smelly hugs to his fans and drawing sketches onto his crowds' newly purchased merchandise items.
"I feel like a unicorn just took a shit on my face," one fan was overheard screaming at the very end of it all.
Yeah, that pretty much sums things up.