Review: Dan Deacon is glitchy but grand at Crowbar in Ybor City
A lot has changed since Dan Deacon’s last visit to Tampa, when he played New World Brewery in 2007.
Since then, the Baltimore electronic artist has released acclaimed albums like Bromst and America, scored Francis Ford Coppola’s film Twixt and made his television debut just days ago on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Supposedly, he even bought his first piece of property in Port Richey (“I’ll see y’all at the motherf---in’ homeowner’s meeting!” he beamed to a few present Port Richey residents.)
So it was a triumphant return — technically, a homecoming — as he played his final show of the tour and final U.S. show until March on Saturday at Crowbar.
First up was Gainesville musician Michael Parallax, who like Deacon played on the floor. Throughout his set, he stripped from a blue suit to flowing robes, to a basketball outfit, to finally his underwear, while confetti and balloons shot out — and this was just the start of the show.
Following him was Pittsburgh rap duo Grand Buffet, who due to some poor scheduling, held an impromptu question-and-answer session with questions like, “Would you rather be friends with Bill Murray or Batman?” Member Jackson O’Connell-Barlow bears an uncanny resemblance to the older Pete from The Adventures of Pete and Pete, which he said broke the hearts of thousands when he jokingly claimed to be him while opening for Of Montreal.
When the two actually performed, their songs’ goofy, smart-alecky lyrics weren’t a huge change from their earlier banter. What did come as a surprise were O’Connell-Barlow’s gymnastic theatrics, which included contorting and madly pedaling upwards on a stool.
Finally, Dan Deacon took the stage, or rather, the floor. He started with a sprawling speech that directed the audience to point at the part of the ceiling that most reminded them of their “greatest regret,” and repeat a chant that involved Netflix and Rob Schneider.
Crowd participation was big in his set, including making a dance circle in the middle of the floor and a human bridge so audience members could go outside and walk over to disrupt the music next door. Others were happy just to crowd his table on the floor, where he played tracks like Of the Mountains and Crash Jam.
There were a couple of rough spots. As Deacon prepared to have the audience use his phone app — a light show that synchronizes to his music — someone on stage had unplugged part of his seemingly very elaborate electronics and there was a threat of needing 20 minutes to reset. He ultimately got it to work, but the music stopped and started in fits, perhaps due to the front row being slammed into his table during the incongruously harmonious True Thrush.
Deacon has always been equal parts party-starter and Philip Glass — the horns on Prettyboy recall Glass’ Pruit Igoe — so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that he ended the show with America’s closing four-part USA suite.
For about 15 minutes, crowd members danced with abandon to horns, strings and glitchy electronics. Then it was the end of the concert, and at least for now, America for Dan Deacon.
-- Jimmy Geurts, tbt*