by Jeff Niesel
The first night of Dan Deacon’s first lengthy U.S. tour in about three years got off to a shaky start last night at the Beachland Ballroom. Deacon, an electronica artist out of Baltimore, began the 90-minute show by instructing patrons to download an app to their phones and then raise them up the air. The idea was that the phones would flash like multi-colored lighters to the music. It didn’t exactly work and Deacon, who compared the experiment to the Wright Brothers initial attempts to fly, apologized for the snafu. Once that was out of the way, Deacon, who was flanked by two drummers and multi-instrumentalist, successfully turned the place into a wild dance party.
Early in the set, he made everyone stand in a circle and dance in unison. Later, he would have everyone cram into the middle of the dance floor and gyrate. All the while, he kept a steady stream of hard-hitting beats flowing, turning the cacophonous “Lots,” a tune from his just-released album America, into noisy anthem. For “Trippy Green Skull,” he put electronic effects on his vocals to make it sound like he had sucked down a bunch of helium. “It feels good to be in Cleveland; I like being in a city that fell apart” he said toward the end of the set as played a few of the beautifully ambient “USA” “movements” included at the end of America. A true eccentric, Deacon puts on one hell of a show and not many electronic artists come close to doing anything as engaging.