Saturday, November 08, 2008

Dan Deacon- Live Show Review

Dan Deacon finally assumed his post beneath his signature “trippy green skull” at an equipment-littered table an hour after his 9:00 set was scheduled to begin. The crowd, while frustrated, couldn’t stay mad for long. After leading his fans in a stretching routine that involved kneeling on the floor and extending their index fingers to the sky as slowly as possible, Deacon began a New Year’s Eve-worthy countdown and pronounced it time to dance, launching into his hyper single, “Okie Dokie.” The then appeased audience forgot all qualms and began to jump and move with hyperactivity that rivaled that of the song.

Deacon, a Baltimore-based DJ who founded the city’s Wham City artist collective, is known more for his insane live shows than his albums. His most recent release, the stellar Spiderman of the Rings, showed up on many Best Of 2007 lists, but his raucous performance at the Hirshhorn Museum as part of its After Hours program completely overshadowed any of his records.

The show played out like the best Bar Mitzvah ever, with Dan Deacon playing the part of the DJ, party-starter and guest-of-honor. His pre-show stretch was only the beginning of the activities he would guide his fans through. Within the first forty minutes, Deacon started a dance contest (encouraging participants to “dance with sass”), set up a race around the perimeter of the outdoor Hirshhorn atrium (a venture that brought the wrath of an unhappy police officer, who threatened to shut the show down, eliciting jeers from the crowd), and devised a man-made tunnel that the audience was instructed to run through and then re-form at the end, resulting in a human burrow that snaked around the entire atrium.

Deacon’s frenzied show, complete with games and beats that made citizens of the notoriously reluctant-to-dance D.C. shake and hop with caffeinated intensity, fit the setting of the Hirshhorn, which often house curious modern art, perfectly. As proven by his distinct live show, Deacon is something of a curiosity himself. Living up to his citizenship of Charm City, Deacon won over a crowd that was initially irked by his tardiness with flying colors.