Dan Deacon is one of several big name musicians playing a free concert in Union Square tomorrow at 4 p.m. We spoke to him recently about why Occupy Wall Street resonates with him and why he considers himself a political artist.
Frank Hamilton Dan Deacon will play a free concert as part of tomorrow's May Day demonstrations.
Village Voice: You're playing a free show in Union Square for May Day, along with Das Racist, Tom Morello, Immortal Technique, and Bobby Sanabria. How did you get involved?
Dan Deacon: Someone sent me an email.
Cool. Great interview! Thanks!
No, the main reason I wanted to be a part of it is because during the peak of the Occupy movement last year I was recording the entire time. I was in Baltimore, so I never made it up to New York, I never made it down to Occupy Baltimore, and I felt like a huge shit-head about it the whole time. I was very excited for winter to end, to get more involved because I knew I'd have a lot of time and I'd be able to be less of an armchair activist and more actually in the mix. So when I got the offer it was something I had to do.More »
4Knots Music Festival: Dan Deacon, Yeasayer (DJ sets)
Saturday, June 16
4Knots Indoor Lounge
Better than: Going home and passing out.
In my coverage of the 4Knots main stage, my "critical bias," as named at the bottom of these write-ups, has been fairly obviousalmost so obvious that it's been kind of difficult to state it in the clever, self-deprecating manner that the format requires. So, again, I'll foreground that bias and note that I'm getting paid to write this by the dudes who hosted the whole shindig. But I'll also add a biases into the equation. Like, for instance, the fact that by the time Yeasayer began spinning records I had consumed too many drinks, complimentary or otherwise, to remember much about their DJ set besides some sort of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth mashup. And I missed entirely the work of BRAHMS, Punches and Finger on the Pulse. Plus I was kind of tired (the curse of arriving on time).More »
The first annual 4Knots Music Festivalfree, at South Street Seaporttakes place on July 16; Mr. Dream will perform at the all-day show at Pier 17. In addition to the day's roster of bandswhich also includes The Black Angels, Titus Andronicus, Davila 666, Oberhofer, and Eleanor Friedbergerbeing finalized, the DJ lineup for the 4Knots Lounge, located at 210 Front Street and open from 2 p.m. to midnight, has also been announced; artists spinning that day include Dan Deacon, Yeasayer, Finger on the Pulse, PUNCHES, and Brahms. More info at the official site.
Debbie Allen for SOTC
285 Kent Ave.
Saturday, May 21
Better than: The sauna at the Greenpoint YMCA.
It's no longer cold as shit out in New York. But for all the disgruntled tweeting about winter weather that ensued these past few months, one thing people will probably miss is the ability to attend a musical performance at a poorly ventilated D.I.Y. space and not feel like they're standing inside someone's mouth. Or, as Dan Deacon put it at 285 Kent on Saturday, "this must be what it's like to be inside of a... nevermind." Try as Dan did to combat the cramped humidity via team-building activities, this sense of claustrophobia permeated the whole performance, and it eventually came to a head in the form a disturbing fan freak-out.More »
Above, the ever-fierce Merrill Garbus (dba tUnE-yArDs) takes on Sonic Youth's "The Burning Spear" at last night's Our Band Could Be Your Concert, the multi-act musical tribute to the bridge between the DIY pioneers chronicled in Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life and indie acts of today. A few other clips from the evening--including a couple of Nirvana covers, in a nod to Azerrad's bio of the band--after the jump.More »
Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life is one of the definite accounts of the 1980's independent rock scene and the rise of alternative culture. But unlike many cultural historians, Azerrad has little use for nostalgia. When the Voice talked to him about the Our Band Could Be Your Concert--the 10th-anniversary celebration of the book, which takes place tomorrow--he was just as excited about the young bands playing on the bill as the icons getting honored. This concert isn't just about the past to Azerrad; it's about showing where indie rock came from and where it's going.
Ted Leo; Dan Deacon; Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak.
Expect the Bowery's green room at Bowery to be a bit of a mutual appreciation society, then, because many of the younger bands on the bill have credited Band with either exposing them to favorite acts or detailing the do-it-yourself, "anyone can be in a band" practical ethics of Black Flag, Fugazi and The Minutemen.
For our story on the concert, we talked to a few of the bill's most exciting young artists: electronic composer/dance machine Dan Deacon (who is covering The Butthole Surfers); Jenn Wasner of Baltimore quiet-loud duo Wye Oak (who are covering Dinosaur Jr.); and Voice favorite, era link and DIY veteran Ted Leo (who is covering Minor Threat). Of course, there was only so much room for their insights in the print edition. So for your reading pleasure, we have edited together, from three separate interviews, the artists' thoughts about finding inspiration and linking the past to the future.More »
This show is crazy: To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life -- an exhaustive history of '80s-indie giants from Sonic Youth to Fugazi to Black Flag -- the Bowery Ballroom is hosting a one-night-only parade of modern alt. superstars covering the bands profiled in the book: Ted Leo playing Minor Threat, Tune-Yards playing Sonic Youth, and someone named Delicate Steve handling the Minutemen. It's all happening May 22; per Brooklyn Vegan, the lineup so far:
Dan Deacon, wearing a shirt with a collar on it. All photos by Puja Patel; more below.
Dan Deacon and So Percussion
Ecstatic Music Festival
Thursday, January 20
Better Than: Choir practice.
Audience participation is something that Dan Deacon has mastered, though we're not used to doing it while sitting down. Going into last night's Ecstatic Music Festival--which aims to bridge to gap between classical and pop music with a series of commissioned works by contemporary composers--we were expecting some sort of direction from the guy, of course: using his usually sweaty, dancing audience as performance pawns is something he's known to do. But when we found ourselves popping balloons while seated in the plush comfort of the Kaufman Center and screaming along with Deacon and his collaborators for the evening, So Percussion, we began to wonder if we were part of an elaborate joke. This was not a concert for the average Dan Deacon fan. Nor, for that matter, was it one for the 70-year-old woman sitting next to me.More »
See? Tranquility at last. All photos by Georgia Kral
Dan Deacon Ensemble
Red Hook Park
Wednesday, June 16
While the Drake and Hanson show (seriously, what were they thinking??) was causing a riot just across the river, the Dan Deacon Ensemble led another huge crowd at Red Hook Park in a more loving form of exercise. The one-man noise-pop hero's show included synchronized dancing with the audience, hula hooping, and what can only be described as hippie moshing--essentially, moshing because you love the person next to you, not because you're trying to release any pent-up anger or rage. Deacon knows his fans well. Before he launched into the first song with his 14-piece band he proclaimed his love for this time of year, noting the imminent solstice and the annual end of high school. The band played for well over an hour, jamming into the sunset with an ensemble that featured four drummers, four synth players, at least four Mac laptops and a dancing, stage-diving guy in a red berry suit. Not to mention the four-eyed Deacon himself.More »
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