Dan Deacon

Pub date April 14, 2009
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

PREVIEW I first saw Dan Deacon perform at Oberlin College’s venue the ‘Sco, a den of nascent creativity that eventually brought me to a city sometimes referred to by the same three-letter abbreviation. Deacon was there, balding and bearded, his glasses taped to his head, his muffin-top iced by a bright pink T. He set up his mad scientist’s table of electronics in the audience’s usual domain. Different colored cords sprang out in every direction and there were multiple mics for his one-man show. Lit by a neon green skull, Deacon began stretching, then implored the audience to stretch. They did.

Not only did we all stretch with Deacon, we danced with Deacon. For a generation that has been taught that to move is to be judged — or whatever excuse keeps scenesters so static — such an act is similar to the miracle of the Virgin Mary getting pregos. Deacon’s inhibition-less philosophy was infectious: not only were the undergrads dancing, they were willing to participate in a high-five conga line and compete in a dance-off.

Although the complexities of Deacon’s music become clearer when heard on an iPod, the experience verges on seizure-inducing. Live, the same music becomes hypnotic. Like his earlier work, Deacon’s newest album Bromst (Carpark) is as much a singular composition as a collection of tracks, which should make it exhilarating to encounter. In concert, he has arranged for it to be played by a 15-piece ensemble. Now that he’s decidedly bigger — in band, popularity, and girth — it’s hard to predict how the intimacy and audience participation aspects of his performance will be affected. But it is sure to be a blast. And a bromst. (Deacon said he made up the word for his album title because it doesn’t have a meaning and he likes the way it sounds.)

DAN DEACON With Future Islands and Teeth Mountain. Thurs/23, 9 p.m., $13. Great American Music Hall. 859 O’Farrell, SF. (415) 885-0750, www.gamh.com