Dan Deacon Brings the Power of Positivity to His Collaborative Dance Party at Brooklyn Bowl

Posted on Wednesday December 30th in

Dan Deacon :: 2015.12.29 :: Brooklyn Bowl

Only Dan Deacon would have the audacity to come onstage to the sounds of The Little Mermaid’s “Under the Sea,” setting the tone for the kind of performance we were in store for last night at Brooklyn Bowl. Much has been said about the element of crowd participation at Deacon’s shows. When he opened with the brilliant “When I Was Done Dying,” off his fourth album, Gliss Riffer, someone immediately began crowd-surfing. Because he prefers safer participation, Deacon asked the crowd to open up into a big circle to kick off the famed dance-off, when two people begin in the middle and dance for a couple of seconds before tagging out to another person — all to the raucous sounds of “Sheathed Wings.”

While Deacon produced beats on his pedal board, Jeremy Hyman, one of the most underrated drummers working today, provided additional layers of thunder to songs like “Learning to Relax,” the two of them functioning like a well-oiled machine. Hyman might appear to be scrawny, but sitting behind the kit, he hit with the power of 10 men. Deacon introduced a new song they’d “never rehearsed before” called “Change Your Life,” and his brother and best friend led the audience in an interpretive dance with everyone in the crowd mimicking their movements, looking like a giant sea of waving limbs in the process.

In one of the show’s more poignant moments, Deacon asked everyone to clasp hands with the people next to them and to close their eyes and think of three people — someone they miss, someone they love, and people they’ve seen on social media who’ve lost their lives to social injustice — and then said next year will be better for the human race, before launching into “Feel the Lightning.” As oversize smiley-face balloons rained down on the crowd, Deacon asked everyone to go home and draw pictures of Garfield’s Odie from memory and to flood social media with these pictures. He then declared 2016 as the “Year of Odie,” a reminder that he isn’t someone who takes life too seriously. Deacon’s show is music therapy for the masses. The beauty of his live act is how present it forces the audience to be. He draws everyone in attendance closer to one another, not only with infectious jump-up-and-down anthems, but also with his penchant for preaching positivity. —John William Mabery | @JohnWMabery

Photos courtesy of Sharee Allen


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