BALTIMORE’S Dan Deacon is typical of a new kind of pop musician.
Dan Deacon | Rating: **** | Summerhall, Edinburgh
Wearing the homely hipster uniform of fuzzy beard, receding hair and casual striped shirt, the 34-year-old was alone with banks of computers and not one ‘traditional’ instrument in sight, hardly a rarity for musicians these days. Yet his performance was anything but anonymous, featuring fun interactions with the crowd and a strong sense of the personality behind the songs.
Playing the Nothing Ever Happens Here strand of concerts at Summerhall, he recalled his first show in the city nine years ago, alone on his birthday playing support to a band he really disliked and their bossy management, and how a group of locals had subsequently “treated me better than anyone had treated me in my life”. His sense of gratitude to the city is apparently unforgotten, and it informed the talkative warmth of his set. At one point the audience was divided into two and coached through a “group interpretive dance” by his tour manager and a friend – essentially an energetic game of Follow My Leader involving everyone in the room.
Signed to Domino Records, home of the Arctic Monkeys, since his 2012 concept album about his own country America, Deacon’s fuzzily catchy electro-pop songs are lent added power by a heavy and insistent bassline onstage, fusing pop performance with the energy of a nightclub. He sings in a frosty, electronically-enhanced falsetto, dancing along just as feverishly as his crowd, with tracks from last year’s Glass Riffer album like the charming, affirmative Feel the Lightning lending a resonantly feel-good atmosphere.