More of a ringmaster than a composer, Dan Deacon is an entertainer extraordinaire; whipping rooms of self-conscience, suited and booted indie kids into some form of energetic, expressive exultation. Producing a hyper-real interpretation of pop electronica the larger than life character from Vermont can turn any room on the spot, changing cross armed, soured faced posers into jabbering wrecks in the course of a few moments, using only his infectious enthusiasm.

His album, 'Spider Man of the Rings', is a collection of ballads for light speed travellers, filled with hooks that last instants and drones that shatter and explode in a matter of seconds. It is the most optimistic, endearing, enchanting collection, utterly devoid of pretensions and outside of any scene. It is also his seventh, the rest eking out their existence in cyber space, looking longing for a home.

Tonight, however, this mercurial talent is faced with an English crowd; the sternest, meanest group of individuals. Unwilling to commit to any form of collective understanding each member of the crowd occupies their own space, a space that cannot be breached by any other sentient being. What can a man do but dance? Deacon starts with a count down from forty, detailing the emotive impact of each number and asking the crowd to convey it in their voice. After a convincing failure from the crowd to engage in this revelry the music begins.

Well, it tries, but there is a false start. Dan screams: “My band is a fickle machine, play iPod, play – why wouldn’t I want you to play?” before unleashing the most ear shattering noise. And we are rolling. Beginning with ‘Big Milk’ the beats come thick and fast but still people refuse to dance. I mean, really refuse. These people can’t dance with their feet. With their hands. With the eyes. With anything! But the music washes over like a torrent.

Machines whirr at extreme velocity, beats fire of like shrapnel into the crowd and beams of light blind those brave enough to stand and face the onslaught. It is like an extreme version of happiness; Tomy toy madness. Still the crowd form a wall of flesh. Refusing to budge. However, there are signs the facade is beginning to crack. After ‘The Crystal Cat’ and ‘Trippy Green Skull’ things get going. The volatile front man organises a dance off, a circle is formed and people are invited to dance. One girl missed the point and starts to grind around, but the crowd is in a forgiving mood. After a few more forays in the crowd Deacon returns to his machines. A cosmic green skull is supported six foot above the crowd, flashing wildly.

When we get to the final track, ‘It’s A Window That Takes Me’ the crowd are finally dancing. Not just moving their hips, but dancing! An incredible sight. The good kind of dancing where you forget who you are, and still wake up on the dance floor, not in some out of town gutter. All too quickly it is over and Deacon is gone! Sizzled out loops still swirl through the air, bouncing off the walls and burrowing into the ears of those still stands. An amazing show.












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Commenting On: Academy 3, Manchester, 23/7/2007 - Dan Deacon








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