Whenever I check out live music in DC, the one thing I never expect is the crowd to be cool, fun, interactive or otherwise interesting. After all, this is the city where some friends and I once got yelled at for dancing at a concert during which the singer begged the audience to dance. But Washington surprised me on Friday during Dan Deacon's set at the Hirshhorn. Not only was the crowd dancing and having evident fun, but it was composed of f*cking cool, laid-back people. Trust me, I'm just as shocked as you are.
But the highlight, of course, as with any musician worthy of my time and money, was the music. To try to explain what kind of music Dan Deacon composes and plays would be like asking a idiot -- and not even of the savant variety -- to explain the theory of relativity using only interpretive dance. Since I'm an idiot, I certainly couldn't do that, and, likewise, I definitely can't describe Deacon's musical stylings using words. All I really can say is the man has mega tight skills, as it were.
And along with his music, Deacon puts on quite the show. Opposed to setting up on a stage, he prefers to be in the crowd, which he explained to Brightest Young Things last week.
See? I wasn't joking. But the beauty of Deacon's set-up is that you can watch him from any angle, which is awesome for photographers, even sh*tty ones like myself, because it allows us not just to digitally capture the back of his head (as exhibited above), but to capture his bearded visage, as well.
And if you really want a taste of the live experience, check out this extra sh*teous video clip I shot while dancing, as to make it even more shaky and unwatchable! Hooray!
One thing I will say in defense of the low quality of that video, is that the weak sound wasn't necessarily my fault. A couple of the speakers kept blowing out, which was super annoying since the Hirshhorn is open-air with fairly poor acoustics. Out of 11, I'd say the overall loudness of the whole show was maybe a six, which is a shame considering Deacon's songs are best heard when your ear drums yearn to magically pop out of your head and start beating you.
Overall, though, I really did enjoy this show. In fact, save for the technical glitches, it was probably the best show I've seen in DC and definitely one of the most unique ones I've been to anywhere in the world. To illustrate, at one point Deacon requested everyone take off running around the perimeter of the Hirshhorn and I'd say at least 200 of us got our jog on. It was definitely nuts, but in such a good way.
And speaking of nuts, I just Google-blog-searched "dan deacon dc" and got schooled by a 16-year-old girl named Nina whose excellent review of Friday's show makes mine seem straight remedial. Kudos, young e-friend. I just got e-served.
Alas, however, the live-show fun this week will not end here! Tonight, Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame is taking the stage at the 9:30 Club. Oberst holds a special nostalgic place in my mechanical heart -- he was the unwitting subject of my first musician interview back in 1999 (or was it '98?) when I wrote for one of my alma mater's now-defunct music magazines, The Creature. I've Googled the hell out of the Interweb trying to track down a link to this first interview, but to no avail, which is probably for the best as it demonstrates just how much of a stupid groupie I used to be back then. (Um, yeah, totally in the past, uh, totally.) If I remember correctly, my first question had something to do with how Oberst and I both studied Russian, which immediately affirmed my stalker status and established an overall creeptastic tone for the rest of the interview. I bet Nina would never have done that. Seriously, how is she so talented at 16?!?!? I wuz stil lurnin 2 reed @ dat age, let aloan rite paragrafz. Sigh.
But somehow, I did learn how to write paragraphs. So many paragraphs, in fact, that, including this post, I've now accumulated a grand total of 300 posts. Which means Nina probably has 1,000...Oh, kids these days. They're apparently geniuses.