With the dregs of winter still sticking to the heels of February, it’s clear everyone needs bit of colour in their lives. Spring seems to be just that little bit too far away to get excited about so any injection of fun to enliven the grey is as welcome as a much needed 2am delivery of booze at a rapidly drying house party. And if there’s one man bound to provide a broad brush of primary colour across the cheeks of a dull mid-February evening, it’s Dan Deacon.
The sold out crowd that eagerly shuffled into London’s Islington Assembly Hall were clearly up to speed on Dan Deacon’s reputation for delivering a turbo fuelled party experience, as the venue was steadily filling up with people wearing everything from pointed party hats to neon knitwear. And the atmosphere was infused with anticipation and the optimistic resonance that everyone was about to have good time.
Dan Deacon is a guy that truly needed no introduction, unmistakable in his larger than life striped shirt and wild facial hair, he welcomed the crowd coming across as being somewhere between a motivational speaker and an acid trip children’s party entertainer. He wasted no time in launching into ‘Paddling Ghost’ as the crowd erupted into a bobbing wave of gyration, Deacon along with them, gesticulating like a mad professor on the stage behind his trade mark case of multicoloured wires.
Deacon’s reputation for being an advocate of full on audience participation preceded him and he certainly didn’t disappoint throughout tonight’s show. Activities ranged from a tag-team dance battle to a “hive mind snake dance tunnel” which saw the entire audience following each other around the room interweaving through tunnels formed by way of opposing rows of people touching each other’s raised palms. All of this was soundtracked, of course, by Deacon’s impossibly upbeat Fisher-Price indie techno.
But tonight was all about Deacon showcasing material from his new album Gliss Riffer, and the new songs proved to be just as melodic and crazed as his older tracks. ‘Sheathed Wings’ fluttered with frenetic beats, Deacon’s crunchy, vocoded vocals and a melody that could sit along side the best of anything the Mae Shi ever came out with. The blissed out ‘Learning To Relax’ provided a wash of dirty synths and showed off the fact that Deacon has near perfected the art of the insanely catchy hook, something that has alway been his raison d’etre.
But Deacon kept the crowd pleasers in reserve and saw out the night with a pummelling version of ‘True Thrush’ buffeted next to Gliss Riffer stand-out ‘Feel The Lightning’. The night was capped off by parts I, II and IV of Deacon’s ’USA’ suite taken from 2012’s America, a cluster of tracks that served as a mini rave in and of themselves.
As the sweaty, grinning crowd filed out into the cold February night, it was clear that Dan Deacon had not only succeed in brightening everyone’s evening, he had spray painted a multitude of party ready primary colours across their brains, and everyone was the better for it.