I was wrong, you know. I said the other week that being in the front row at an SEBP gig was like a war-zone. Last night I decided that the chaos at their gigs is more like a centralised battlefield. The full-blown mayhem that Dan Deacon manages to inspire is a war-zone. That’s not to say that the Boners aren’t great fun, it’s just that where they get most of the crowd worked up through the more traditional means of giving it socks on-stage, Mr Deacon claims total control of the entire crowd using the so-simple-it’s-shocking-it-took-this-long tactics of just telling the assembled masses exactly what to do.
I’ve seen the Dan Deacon solo show quite a few times in exponentially larger venues around Dublin, so I was excited about seeing the new Ensemble show performing the material from ‘Bromst’ in a big venue like ALT*, which almost seemed purpose-built for his trademark theatrics. I did bring my camera (having never braved it before) but didn’t take one photo because a) I was having too much fun, and b) it’d be easier to take photos inside a washing machine. Hence the ‘Scene Missing’ pic above (plus I’ve always wanted to do that). Now, apparently crowds in other countries aren’t quite as receptive or obedient to Dan’s instructions and while we get a bit of the old “Dublin is the best city to play in” malarkey (heartfelt and enthusiastic though it was), I got the feeling that Dan Deacon was loving the freedom that he was awarded, to do whatever he wanted and push the games further as the crowd responded more and more enthusiastically. At times he seemed giddy at the very idea and at times he seemed almost shocked that the crowd were so dedicated to the cause, like during the dance-off between Team and Team Blue or when the human chain continued for such a distance and such a long time that it was brought to an impromptu end so we could all rush back in as they started “The Crystal Cat”.
The whole show was pretty amazing, from serenading strangers during “Silence Like The Wind” to pushing our hands down on their heads to alleviate past guilt. The Ensemble were fantastic and really added to the pulse of the whole show, particularly during the ‘interpretative dance’ part, when we all followed the bizarre movements of ‘Stephen’ – who seemed like her purpose in life was to lead us in dance – in the centre of the room (See Nialler’s photo). And so we survived to see Dan Deacon another day.