Dan Deacon – Rough Trade NYC – February 25, 2015
It was the year 2007 and I had only been living in Brooklyn for a few months. Being a native West Coaster, I was not privy to the genius and fun of Dan Deacon until a coworker (now friend) initiated me to his greatness. She’d recently moved from Baltimore and had regaled me with tales of Deacon’s legendary DIY parties. She described them as “complete madness” and “a mix of spastic dancing, mosh-pitting and communal hugging” in a warehouse space called the Copycat building. She recounted how “the crowd there was so crazy, that I pretty much went to those shows prepared to get pushed so hard that I’d crash into a random drum set or the wall at some point in the night.”
Fast forward to last night, when I finally experienced Mr. Deacon’s musical wizardry. Readied for my own taste of his exuberant live shows, I (and my previously mentioned friend) embarked upon a sold-out Rough Trade NYC, where Deacon celebrated the release of his latest album, Gliss Riffer. The faux-warehouse venue, which captures some of that look and feel of the space where Deacon got his start, felt like a telling metaphor for the trajectory of his career. Although audience participation was high with Deacon calling for a dance circle and opposite-side dance offs, it was by no means the spectacle I’d heard about.
Nevertheless, the master of ceremonies did not disappoint weaving oldies “Paddling Ghost” and “Wham City” against the latest and greatest from the brand new release. Early on, “Sheathed Wings” had fans whipping their heads to the bass, while everyone erupted in euphoria for “Feel the Lightning,” a track that according to the A.V. Club “comes across as the love child of Daft Punk and Todd Rundgren.” The evening culminated with Deacon playing America, leaving no need for an encore. —Sharlene Chiu