Dan Deacon went on stage as I walked through the Legion’s artist entrance. While hopping over instrument bags and disassembled drums, a Sled Island volunteer stopped to tell me that this was the artist entrance and I shouldn’t use it. My friends sauntered by, nodding in passive agreement. I said, “It’s cool. I’m an artist.”
The second these words rolled off my tongue, I felt stupid. Having already shamed myself, I decided to follow up with, “I’m Dan Deacon.”
I am not Dan Deacon. He was on stage blasting glitchy electronic tones at the audience. And he brought the crowd together with fantastic music and a stage presence like no one I’ve ever seen.
Crowd participation is big for Deacon. Following a monologue featuring a Game of Thrones metaphor, he parted the crowd and coaxed us into a dance-off.
Three songs later, Deacon split the crowd in two again. He picked one person from each side to stand in the empty space running down the middle of the dance floor. Whatever dance they did, we had to copy. And if they did poorly, someone would rush up and take their place.
I’ve never felt as positively aware of the people around me at a dance show. Of course when the bro in the polo fell at my feet in the pit, I picked the lad up. But knowing everyone was equal and unpretentiously happy was is a real testament to Deacon’s power as a performer and musician.
My roommate and I bumped into each other as Deacon told the audience to make a human dance tunnel leading from the dance ﬂoor to the Legion’s second ﬂoor. Happiness was shooting from his eyes. “I’ve been waiting seven years for this!” he shouts. I can see why.
Deacon returns to Calgary with the Arcade Fire on Aug. 12 at the Saddledome.