Photos by Jon Ching
Dan Deacon – Baltimore’s hero of the experimental underground – delivered a classic, highly interactive performance on Saturday night at the Chapel. Using a full light rig to its maximum synchronized potential, Deacon gave the Noise Pop audience exactly what it wanted: dancing, lights, pulsing maniac bass lines, organized dance parties, crowd-surfing, and a heavy dose of his trademark cat-in-a-bag falsetto vocals.
I would argue that there isn’t a lot of differentiation between songs during Deacon’s set — they all sound almost exactly the same. I also think Deacon knows this, and it’s why he peppers his set with so many games and strange, off-the-cuff monologues. Without that entertainment, the music would be left a little too exposed, its shiny, ADHD veneer leaving the listener with nothing to hold onto in the absence of spectacle.
Fortunately, there would be no absence and the dancing went off unabated. At one point, Deacon asked everyone to get on-stage and dance. During the song’s outro, he had everyone leave the stage via crowd-surfing — which took about 5 minutes to get all 40 people back to their respective places. Without a doubt, Saturday night was classic Deacon: a sweaty tribute to getting weird and following orders, strange as they may be.
Opener Running in the Fog delivered an electro-tribute to R&B, which follows perfectly the 2015 formula for success: soulful female lead vocals with a man dressed in black playing a drum pad. This was also the problem as the trendy sound effectively removed any signs of individualism for the duo. The ingredients are there, we will just have to continue waiting for it to become something more than the sum of its parts.