A few weeks ago, Tyler and I went to the September installment of Red Bull Sound Select, in our new hometown of Portland, Oregon. Sound Select is a program Red Bull runs in 16 cities across the country to help break emerging artists. Each show is curated by local influencers who choose bands from their own city’s scene to play along with a headliner. In this case, the headliner was Dan Deacon.
I caught Dan Deacon for the first time last year, when he was opening for Arcade Fire on their Reflektor tour. Devo was supposed to be a co-opener, but had to cancel, so Deacon had to do a longer than normal set to fill the void. He put on a really compelling show in a huge amphitheater (he got the audience to create the longest snake/conga line I’ve ever seen at an outdoor concert), but it was easy to see that he would take things to another level in a club. Getting to see him perform in a small venue like Mississippi Studios was utter perfection. It’s one of the smallest clubs I’ve ever seen a show in, and that just added to the experience.
The place was packed, even as the openers (Wrestlers, Rap Class, and I think there was someone else?) were playing, so by the time Deacon took the stage, there wasn’t room to do much of anything down on the floor. Lucky for us, we were up in the balcony, with a great view.
How do you describe Dan Deacon’s music? Hmmm. Electronic music with heart that makes you want to dance. Watching Deacon do his thing on stage is hypnotic – it pulls you in, and the songs keep you there. Everything you see on the table in front of him is all he uses to make the music, which is a feat in itself.
If anyone ever tells you that big guys aren’t active, kindly have them watch Dan Deacon in action. He dances, darts back and forth across the stage, sings and plays music like his life depends on it. He has an amazing connection with his audience – talking to them about whatever’s on his mind at the moment – and they loved it. The connection is so strong that there were at least two points during the show that required audience participation, and the entire floor crowd got into it.
After the show, Tyler and I were able to meet Dan, and he was as awesome as we hoped. He was friendly, and had seen some of our posts about being at the show from earlier in the evening. We talked a bit about Chubstr, and he liked what we’re doing. We’ll definitely catch him again on his next stop in Portland.
Do yourself a favor and listen to Dan Deacon’s latest album, Gliss Riffer, wherever it is you get your music these days.