Last Night at 35 Conferette: Dan Deacon Whips Up A Frenzied Festival Close For An At-Capacity Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios

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Dan Deacon
1 a.m., Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios

Rubber Gloves, the way its creator meant for it to be --- swimming with the flailing appendages of sticky college students, the air clammy and thick with the palpable stench of dozens of human bodies excreting gasses and liquids, feeding into a stagnant air mass that billows along with the undulation of the crowd.

Somewhere toward the front of the primal display of both dance and pre-industrial ventilation systems, a glowing green skull high atop a pike emanated a soft light. Below it stood Dan Deacon, not visible through the tangle of hands and heads, but controlling the crowd with both his hypnotic words and his music.

"I want everyone to turn and look to the center of the room," said Deacon, famous for his complex instructions to crowds during his live performances. "Now, move slowly to the center of the room."

He then ordered everyone to touch the heads of the person in front of them, and think of the thing in life for which they bear the most guilt, and how it affects everyone around them. Then he instructed them to put their hands in the air and let it go.

Deacon had the crowd in the palm of his hand, mesmerizing them with strobe lights and incessantly pounding percussion mixed with distorted guitar-like sounds, and whipping them into a youthful frenzy.

It sure looked like a lot of fun.

The crowd surfing, which began about a quarter of the way into his set, was indicative of the rock show aesthetic of his performance and his songs. Deacon occupies a space of electronic music reserved for this with strict rock sensibilities, and everything from the distortion, the beats, the vocals and particularly the crowd's reaction made it strictly a rock show.

"This next song is about a cat," he said at one point, to the roar of the clearly satisfied audience, or at least those lucky enough to get in to the at-capacity venue. The ensuing performance of "The Crystal Cat" whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and there was more than one pair of foggy glasses as a result.

Deacon, with his toy keyboard, vocoder, mess of patch cables and pedals, microphone and God knows what else, created a harsh and pulsating mess of high-intensity sounds, blended it with a tinge of performance art and the end result was one of the most well-attended and well-received shows of the Conferette, as well as a pretty appropriate ending to the proceedings.

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