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NXNE Day 2: Dan Deacon at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, June 13th

Layers and layers of sound. Never have you heard so much sound at the same time and wanted more.

Deacon’s show is extremely interactive, he plays from the floor, engaging the audience to hold props. Usually light reflecting gear of some sort. Is it a rubber chicken he’s fist pumping with? Who cares!? I’m drinking pint glasses of his Kool-Aid.

I chase music. I can boast more notches than on the average belt, but I have never seen a show like this. The closest I have ever come was the Flaming Lips finale. That’s what the Deacon show was; the most condensed tiny little Flaming Lips bubble with all the teletubbies and the glitter jammed into a 4×4 space with ten times as much sound and excitement.

It’s hard to figure what it is exactly what seven hundred of my new best friends and I are celebrating. It could be an explosion of nerdom that we find ourselves immersed in, each of us saluting each others’ freak flag, each of us feeling our dissipating ‘cool factor’, none of giving a sh*t cause Dan Deacon doesn’t care, so why should we? He ordered half of the room to dance like Game of Thrones didn’t suck this season, and even the industry representatives cloaked in suits in the back screamed their faces off. Who wants to be street cool when they could party with Dan Deacon and let it all hand out instead? (No one puts Dan Deacon in a corner.)

In fact, I can prove this. About midway through his set he orders ten people to make a tunnel with their hands. “This is going to be stressful and difficult but it will be so worth it. Chug your drinks, we’re taking this all the way outside!” (Small amounts of disbelief come from the audience like puffs of smoke that lasts only ten seconds.) Soon everyone is lining up to touch a stranger and get involved. I have not seen this much audience participation since Raffi came to my elementary school. “Just to reintegrate,” he says, “as soon as you come through the tunnel you become part of the tunnel!” The music swells and everyone just starts touching each other. “Don’t be a pervert.”

Zero to sixty does not do this group justice. When I walked into the bar the crowd was sedated; spent from the punk band that had played the slot before. Drawing energy is an art form in Deacons world, an art form that he is both master of, and I’m sure on some level unconscious. What you feel most when you watch him perform is the fluidity of his character, the reckless abandon with which he plays with music; and his giant beaming heart that makes you want to hug a perfect stranger and admit to them that you have Star Wars action figure collection and that the new Daft Punk changed your life.

Viva the strobe light. Viva Dungeons and Dragons. Viva all things music. Viva life.

And in the immortal words of Dan Deacon, “The tunnel must live on.”

He’s playing SECRET SHOW at the Drake Hotel June 14th, 11pm.

By Lindsay Ure

Lover of words, self-proclaimed audio junkie, student of life, chaser of art. She is a woman you can trust with all things music, because she`s not actually a woman at all, but a custom banjo.

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