Monday, January 30, 2012

Dan Deacon, January 28 Concert; Still Blissed Out

So I managed to get out of the house on Saturday night to see one of the most singular artists out there right now, and one of my favorites: Dan Deacon.

There's music that's good to get people dancing at parties -- I always thought The Chemical Brothers' were good for that. And there's bliss-out music -- sometimes that's the same stuff.

And there's music that's musically dull, but gets asses shaking, and because people feel good when their asses shake, it may lead to bliss-out-like states (though it's more thanks to the atmosphere than to the music itself). I always thought Black Eyed Peas' Let's Get Retarded was a good example of that. And there's simply "Jump up and down" music. All of these play well at dance parties.

But if, instead of humans gathering for a dance party, the musical instruments grew hands and feet, and gathered somewhere to have a party, and maybe got high first... Dan Deacon is how I imagine that party would sound.


Dan Deacon did a show last Saturday night, and I went, and boy I'm glad I did. I like writing about bliss-outs, and I don't know why, but dance and house music are some of the most bliss-out prone styles out there, when you share it with a room of two or five-hundred people. A few of the tallest joys I've experienced in shared moments (the romance between me and wifeoseyo aside) have been dancing to techno-ish music.
And Dan Deacon is a genius in that realm. He takes loops and electronic squeals and shapes them into journeys that get more fun, the louder you play them. And then suddenly the electronic squeals are singing words: my buddy Yujin (from Yujin is Huge) joined me for the show, and as I struggled to describe Dan Deacon, he said, "So it's like Fantasia had a dance party"... if memory serves. I was several beers deep by then. The first three times I listened to Dan Deacon's albums, I didn't get them. Before deleting them off my hard drive, on a whim, I cranked the volume... and I got it. Now I love it, but I have to warn you not to listen to Dan Deacon while driving: you'll speed.

But to avoid making his show just about him and the musics he can make, Dan Deacon spoke to the crowd, and worked a lot to get the crowd as involved in the music as he could. He regularly cleared a circle in the dance floor, and asked the audience to do funny games or activities that would get everyone doing the same thing.

Some were silly, some were awesome, but all of them increased the feeling of connection with the music, with the artist, and with the rest of the crowd. This was his goal, I'm sure, and it took the concert to a whole other level:
(picture from the opening act)

I've been to an Arcade Fire concert where they left the stadium through the crowd in Vancouver, and that was awesome, but this was something else, and the intimacy of sharing a bliss-out was an experience I hadn't had.

He asked the entire crowd to follow this girl in the beige jacket, who'd won the right to lead the dance in a contest on his website.

During the last song of the show -- the encore -- you can see how he and the audience are just as in tune with the music, and each other.

The last song -- a new track called "USA" ended (not seen here: sometimes I put my camera away and just enjoy stuff) with a progression of warm chords that brought the high of the night down into a mellow sharing, everyone around Dan Deacon moving together and bobbing their heads in something I can only call communion. Joy can be shared, bliss and art can be experienced together (with each other, and together with other people), in a way that an isolated dude with an MP3 player on the bus will never understand, until someone gives him a hi-five and pulls him into a tornado of dancing people.

And that's why you should go to a Dan Deacon show... and go for it. Dont' stand by the wall and watch. Jump in. Two days later, I'm still exhilarated.

This picture sums up dance parties in a couple of ways. I like it.

After the show, I thanked him for coming to Seoul, and for his music. He was a cool guy, because he wasn't trying to be cool: he was the guy who lives down the hall in your dorm, except really, really, really good at making music that makes people completely happy.


Eugene said...

I think you were saying that it was like a Disney movie where all the instruments are actually alive, but they are electronic instruments.

Then I said so it's like Electronica Fantasia.

I'm surprised you didn't share the "It's like Pacman on crack!" line.

And what about that guy who opened.. most interesting approach to a live performance show I ever saw.

wetcasements said...

Sorry I missed this.

SuperColorSuper continues to be one of my favorite things going in SK.

Toro & Moi should be good in February as well.