Music

On the Outside

Dan Deacon's Grand Ole Party

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Dan Deacon is the current ruler of the "outsider" music scene, constantly garnering comparisons to the late Wesley Willis. While Deacon wears sweatpants in public and used to duct tape his glasses (not any longer—it turns out duct tape is, in his words, "like, really, really toxic"), the man exudes charm, is endlessly enthusiastic, and writes some killer songs to boot. Granted, his antics can be bizarre—from sampling Woody Woodpecker to his spastic cover of "Splish Splash"—but Deacon never comes off as anything less than genuine.

Currently receiving massive amounts of internet love in addition to being on "one of the most successful tours [he's] been on," everything seems to be on the upswing for the Baltimore-based artist. Performing mainly on the floor of any given venue, the line between performer and crowd is blurred, as Deacon shares the same level of excitement as his audience does. In addition, he has been offering eight opening choir slots to the first fans in each city to respond. According to Deacon, this experiment in sharing the limelight has been "about as chaotic and successful" as originally anticipated.

Deacon's brand of radically spastic electronic pop is quite the unifier, intent on breaking down any "hip" barriers that often plague the indie scene. This, however, automatically turns him into a polarizing artist; his lack of pretension is something that you'll probably find either thrilling or completely annoying, with little chance of finding a middle ground. When I asked him what he would like to say as a parting note to Portland, he apologized for playing an age-restricted show, adding, "The 18- to college-age audience gets sort of disenfranchised when it's 21 and up. It just really sucks when people want to go to the show and can't." With Deacon, it's not about getting more people and more money; he just wants more fans to be able to enjoy the celebration.

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