Dan Deacon @ Fabric, London – 16/09/10
Originally posted on The 405
Throughout life, you oft hear of certain artists that you simply have to see live, through friends, reviews, hype and general word-of-mouth. However, whilst we take on board such information and remember it, such is the self-centered nature of the human species we tend to feel an ambivalence on such news. ‘Yeah, okay, I’ll try and catch them” we say with an air of half-commitment. As you may well know, purveyor of music, Dan Deacon is one of these artists that belongs and quite frankly runs this category; and Lordy, you genuinely do have to experience the man live. “Yes, okay, I’ll definitely see Dan Deacon” is what one should be promising.
With only one previous London-date in the past two-and-a-half-years, it is close to never happening as the gig couldn’t take place at new East London venue XOYO, presumably as they spent too much time attempting to spot themselves in the viral ‘dickhead’ video. Last minute Fabric came to the rescue, which perhaps adds to the crazed and frantic proceedings of the set; but then again, perhaps not.
Baltimore-based Deacon sets-up his table full of vibrantly hued electronic toys and gadgets in front of the stage at audience level, as is his norm generally. As soon as the set begins, chaos ensues. Deacon clings onto and wrestles with the table, which can only be described as swaying (literally), as the crowd crushes towards the epicenter that is Deacon. The atmosphere is absurd and electrically charged, much like the absurdist electro that Deacon himself unleashes, and throughout the 100 minute set Deacon he constantly has the self-inflicted wild audience eating out of his palm, like a rabid circus. This is not a gig, it is a cult gathering. At a party. Ordered by a demigod.
As the beeps, effect pedals, keyboards and riotous bleep-techno rise and falls, Deacon acts as a ringleader for the show and enlists audience participation at various points. At one point between tracks, a circle is created in which he gets the crowd to follows the exact free-form dance moves of a chosen person (Chris Tipton), as Deacon cranks-up the musical tension whilst acting as compère. Then as the crescendo is reached in this segment, all hell is unleashed as Deacon’s followers break out into a mini-rave for the umpteenth time in the evening. Fabric is of course used to raves, but this is a different level of intensity; in your face, short, sharp and maniacal.
It’s probably the most fun one could ever have at a gig and impossibly difficult to articulate the joyful surrealism involved. Not only does the audience become a single entity, but Dan Deacon and audience become a single entity – and by the time the epic Wham City slices through Farringdon at midnight in the finale, it’s almost too much to bear. This review could eulogize until the adjacent scrollbox becomes atom-sized, so lets just leave it at it was ruddy fun. Just look how happy the people are – the photos trump the words, each speaking a thousand of them.