Dan Deacon

Dan Deacon


This is not your average Wednesday night. A grown man stands above us, wearing khaki shorts, a schoolboy-like shirt and red socks pulled up to his knees. Soon, this man would hold a level of control over us. He would direct us, manipulate us and frankly embarrass us. His name is Dan Deacon and his live show is like no other.

The sound is deafening, the lights blinding and the body odour stomach-curdling. Bearing this in mind, Dan Deacon asks us to form a circle and start a dance off. We oblige, with no complaints, despite the inevitable effect such dancing is going to have on the already-suffocating odour blocking our nostrils.

Before we all inevitably turn away and stare at our contestants, the drummer flashes his sticks against the toms and the sheer speed of his performance becomes apparent and for a moment, I no longer feel sympathy for the elected dancers. About 10 drumsticks lie next to his kit; a sure sign that this speed and momentum does not get any slower and that he has more than used to breaking a drumstick or two.

Attention now turns to the dancers and Dan’s move now becomes even more intelligent, as he has all of his fans turned away from himself and he can exercise his right to do what the hell he wants. Frankly, he could sound absolutely shit and nobody would notice but luckily enough for us, his voice through a vocoder sounds fantastic. Soon the contest, goes far beyond the two that began the dance off and Islington Mill’s health and safety are probably scratching their heads, thinking how can we put an end to this pure joy in front of us?

Dan’s decisions to run off stage are exciting, but even more tantalising is the drummer, who plays and plays, without ever bordering on the cringey. He never once goes for a drum solo and we never get tired of him, watching him is exhilarating.

The lights are striking as splashes of modern art rush across the roof, Dan’s voice is now decipherable and as our legs move, it feels like the rocks that have been previously tied around our ankles have been removed and we can now express our true selves. Now, we go from dance offs to interpretative dance, and as we bend on one knee and twist our arms in unison, the incredible ability of Dan to expel all of our anxieties becomes clear.

The song is ‘when I was done dying’ and he soon gets us to participate in ‘the wall of life’ – the opposite to the ‘wall of death’ normally performed by garish metal fans. Instead of running into each other, this wall sees the crowd try and high 5 as many people as possible. With such a soundtrack, this was heaven and a vision of a happy-go-lucky society which could happily fill the worlds of George Orwell and William Morris. Dan’s power to get us to do literally everything is just like a dictator and his control is incredible.

Soon, Dan slags off our government, despite the fact that Donald Trump has just announced his presidential candidacy in his home country. But, he has a point. In spite of his dislike of Cameron, Deacon clearly has his own visions of a ‘big society’ and tonight he creates one, where we dance without anxiety and embrace and high five one another, with a smile in our eyes. It is hard to think that there is a world outside this room, we are so engulfed and entranced by our current situation, it really has become hard to see the wood through the trees.

Our leaders hand out water altruistically, before leading into ‘USA 1, 2 and 4’. He must be incredibly warm and he reminds of those nutcases, who somehow have the energy to go to a WHP afterparty, after being cramped in a warehouse until 4AM. There is no encore, these two have definitely done enough and as we leave, we walk home in a sun-blitzed trance.

The next morning we are shocked out of our stupor, when we hear that nine people have been shot in Charleston. We are dragged back into the real world and Dan Deacon’s utopia is cruelly snatched away from us. Such a world may never be possible but Dan gave us a glimpse something better, something more fun and something all embracing. And for that glimpse, we salute him.

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Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.