Photo by MICHAEL ORLOSKY
BY JONATHAN VALANIA FOR THE INQUIRER On record, acclaimed Baltimore-based futurist Dan Deacon sounds like Philip Glass on Red Bull. A lot of Red Bull. His music is like Koyaanisqatsi for the ears. Live, he resembles nothing so much as a hip, wise-cracking camp counselor DJing a dance party for people who can’t really dance. His name may not ring a bell but for people under 30 he is Santa Claus with a wave function generator. And last night he came to town — Union Transfer to be exact — after a three year absence from area stages, to promote America, his album-length meditation on the national soul.
Bulky, bearded and balding, rocking a droopy T-shirt and his trademark red Sally Jesse Raphael frames, Deacon looks more like a roadie than a rock star. And yet he is. Taking the stage to the rock-operatic strains of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” during which the near-capacity crowd sang along with every word, Deacon started off the show with an absurdist self-actualization exercise that somehow incorporated your Netflix queue, a mythical Criterion Collection edition of Deuce Bigelow and “wafers, delicious wafers,” before launching into the freaky tribal stomp of “Of The Mountains.” This set the agenda for the rest of the night: prismatic, psychotropic electronica combined with giddy group exercises that required and received full audience participation. MORE