photo by kexpjim
Although he was billed to appear in a “Magical Hidden Cloud” on Saturday night in Seattle, Dan Deacon ended up in someone’s basement. In that dark, sweaty, humid box, lucky fans in-the-know crowded around the “oddball electronic-popster” of “absurdist” music for a mind-blowing and body-throwing set.
A classically trained, Baltimore-based solo performer, Deacon often polarizes listeners with his manic electronic freakouts. His latest album, Spiderman of the Rings, has done the same with reviewers, garnering praise from some and yielding disappointment in others. But that seems to be Deacon’s game — he pushes your tolerance for noise and chaos in the same way that he flaunts his nerdiness with inane and often ill fitting teeshirts and ginormous glasses that both shrink and magnify his face. He dares you to dislike him while underneath it all there is form, concept, and a genuinely nice personality.
For this tour, Deacon joined fellow so-called Future Shock rockers Video Hippos on a seven week tour of split locations of actual music venues (Cambridge, MA’s Middle East Upstairs) and unlikely locales (Brooklyn’s McCarren Park Pool). This weekend in Seattle, after his regularly scheduled performance at the oddly chosen Wild Rose (“There’s somethign odd about this place… This lesbian bar doesn’t have a fire exit!”), Dan Deacon performed a “secret late show” at the Healthy Times Fun Club, the basement of a couple named Rebecca and Jake. The club is more than a music venue, however. According to their MySpace page, members share interests of “Bikes. Basements. Short-sleeved sweatshirts. Knitting. Crafts. Jams. Best Friends.” Here’s how Rebecca described it to me:
Since we all love to ride bikes and hang out and do crafts we (myself, jake severn, chris govella, and julianna wisdom) decided to start a nonmilitant bike gang/ craft/ collaborative dinner making club. We came up with the name Healthy Times Fun Club because it sounded like the most fluffy nonmilitant and exciting title for what we had in mind. We want to build community, learn from each other and just have the most inclusive fun ever in the world, together. We just had our first of our regular last Sunday of the month brunch meetings to plan outings and events for the club and it went super well, we had a great turnout and have some great ideas for bike trips and how to workshops that will happen soon. We also attend meetings with the Seattle DIY collaborative and they are very supporting of us!
Kevin & Jim of Video Hippos
photo by Clark Fredricksen
The live sets, performed in Rebecca’s own bedroom, were all amazing. I missed the first act, Orcateers, but I did catch Little Party and The Bad Business, whose youthful chant-alongs accompanied by casiotone and microkorg energized the crowd. The set performed by drum and guitar duo Video Hippos seemed in comparison more intense, hypnotic, and dangerous — if you could discount the Teletubbies projected in the background.
The main attraction, of course, was Deacon. His rats nest of gear included a delay pedals, samplers, an iPod attached to a banana, what looked like a box of light switches and outlets, various microphones, and who knows what else, all secured to a table with multicolored tape. Added to this mess of electronics was Deacon’s replacement Casiotone MT-800, which he managed to borrow after soliciting for a replacement on his MySpace page. Not being the most with-it Deacon fan, I can’t give a full set list of songs, but I did recognize many fan faves like “Crystal Cat,” “Big Big Big Big Big,” “Okie Dokie,” and “Trippy Green Skull.” Before the tour began, Deacon sought four men and four women from each location to join his Wham City choir, complete with letter adorned robes, to sing along. The basement was far too hot for this nonsense (which I mean in a good way), so the robes were abandoned, as were Deacon’s glasses, for this performance, just in case anybody caught “some sort of rash.” Instead, he passed the lyric sheets to “Wham City” to the crowd and we all sang along.
@ Healthy Times Fun Club 6/23/07
[edit: actually, there were some issues that may prevent futures shows; read about it on the Healthy Times MySpace page]
|Dan Deacon photos
by Clark Fredricksen
Video Hippos – Koolshades (MP3)