Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Inconspicuous Consumer no. 2: Dan Deacon, the Vicar of Pop

Dan Deacon's Bromst has remained a mainstay all year. Each listen is as enthralling as the last. After seeing his round robin show with No Age and Deerhunter in Bloomington, IN earlier this year, I've been thinking more and more about Dan's place in music and the way music consumptions is changing.
After reading this article arguing for the relevance of the band Creed in today's world and this New York Times article discussing the "science" behind Pandora Radio, I can fully piece together my thoughts on music. Is it any coincidence that Human Clay was released just as Napster first went online? I won't argue that Creed was the last great rock band, but I will argue that they do represent something. The phrase "rock god" has been throw around as long as I remember. Scott Stapp took that persona to the next level, unapologetically playing rock messiah. The dissolution of his band coincided well with the death of the rock god. File sharing, music blogs, and internet radio have all put music back into our hands.
As the consumer, we can now experience music on our own terms. Music is no longer something that is given to us by a higher power (network tv, radio, Billboard). Whether we experience unknown bands through Stumbleupon, let our peers decide for us, or let the genome of a song decide what other songs we will like, we can now worship at our own pace. We no longer need gods to pound it and wail it. We need a priest to lead us as we enjoy what the world has collectively created.
The Dan Deacon show was a different kind of religious experience from one Stapp and co. might lead. Deacon stands at an altar full of sound equipment and delivers music to the crowd on the floor before him. It isn't a sing-along. The feel is not of worshiping his art but of worshiping whatever creative force has begotten his art. We were a jumping, swaying mass before the group activities even started. Along with the group interpretive dance (the one that injured Randy Randall a few shows later) and the human tunnel, we were led in a laying-on of hands. Deacon prompted everyone to face the center of the room, lay our hands on the person's head in front and think of a time that we let someone down as he began "Snookered". This is music that redeems.
2009 is drawing to a close, and never before could a stocky, bearded man amidst a tangle of cables and synthesizers draw a national following. If you don't believe me check out his Lollapalooza performance video. It's a new era, and I'm proud to call it mine.