Wednesday night, Tara and I made the trek out the West Hollywood for the sold out Dan Deacon show at the Troubadour. We missed out on getting tickets originally so we had to buy them at an inflated price on craigslist. Lame, but I was pretty sure it was going to be worth it. When we got there, Teeth Mountain was playing and we watched for a second before deciding we would rather get drinks in the other room and talk. Nothing against the band, which actually sounded pretty good.
From the other room we heard the next act, Future Islands, begin their set and it sounded pretty cool so we went back inside to check it out. I’m not really sure how to describe these guys except to say they’re kind of like Matthew Dear beats mixed with Bear vs. Shark vocals, if I may make two references to John Gaviglio at once. Synthy dance beats behind gravelly, screamy vocals that sound like Tom Waits and Morrissey getting in an argument. I really dug it and Tara bought their cd after the show. It’s definitely good but unfortunately, the singer’s manic enthusiasm is something you can only really experience at the live show. Some other dude filmed them performing what I guess we all agree was the standout track so check it out below.
Finally, Deacon set himself and his thirteen piece band up and was ready to start the show despite a number of issues with the lights and sound setup at the Troubadour. Deacon doesn’t like performing on stage and instead sets his little table up on the floor with everyone else gathered around him. That’s cool if you’re into solidarity but not so cool if you’re into seeing the performer perform. Luckily, I’m pretty tall and could see his face but I had no clue what he was doing with his instruments or computer. He warmed us up with some group calisthenics and “meet-your-partner” exercises that let us know this was going to be an inhibition free environment for the next hour or so. One song in, it was clear that this crowd came to let loose. A serious mosh pit of sorts evolved and threatened to take Deacon’s fragile setup with it before he announced we should “Just dance” and not pretend we’re at a Pearl Jam concert.
At one point, Deacon separated the crowd into two halves and picked a volunteer from each side to begin a “fancy dance” contest for the next song. Simple instructions- When the song starts, start dancing and then pick someone else from your side to take over. This lasted less than 30 seconds because the first two knuckleheads never let the circle and so other eager dancers just fled into the space until there was no space anymore. Epic following directions fail. The crowd made amends with the next activity, which was to form a human tunnel made out of two people standing face to face and clasping hands above their heads. During the song, people could walk through the tunnel until they reached the end and then made themselves the latest link. Amazingly, this actually happened until the chain went from the dancefloor, up the stairs to the balcony and back down the other side. It was fun and we celebrated our success by dancing more.
The bottom line is, this was a totally unique concert experience and if you want to dance your shit senseless and bop into other hipsters wearing flannels, there’s probably no better show to go to. But I wasn’t really prepared for that and was going as a fan of the music. Live, the music was kind of second fiddle and all the wonderful instrumentation and varying tones that makes Bromst such a great record are kind of lost. To be perfectly honest, all the songs sounded the same to some degree. So, I’m glad I went but I’m more glad that I have the record to spin on my drive to work tomorrow.
And for good measure, one of my favorite things in the world, which Deacon played some part in making.