In an inevitable collision of bizarro universes, Dan Deacon played Meow Wolf last night. It’s been roughly 8 years since I last witnessed a Dan Deacon performance, but the multiple times I’ve seen him have left lasting impressions of euphoria. Last night was every bit as special as I remembered. His shows go far beyond a musical experience. Over the years, Deacon has masterfully bridged the gap between artist and audience. As his strange, highly energetic and often cartoony electronic sounds send fans into a frenzy, Dan Deacon engages with the audience, convincing them to participate in dance contests and other games. Within these engagements with the crowd, Deacon not only builds rapport with his fans but also tears down invisible barriers between the fans themselves. Even the shyest, most disengaging members of the audience can be persuaded to let down their guards and embrace the overwhelming joy. In his first appearance at Meow Wolf, Dan Deacon expectedly brought the magic. His newest songs proved to be as fun as anything he’s ever done. It often gets lost that Dan Deacon’s music is as unique and creative as his performances. He’s a modern Morricone, creating imaginative soundtracks for adventures into alternate universal realms.
Getting things started in their own weird way was Denver’s déCollage whose stage presence included a live painter in an astronaut helmet. Although their performance was an eye-catching spectacle indebted to the Flaming Lips, their music ultimately left no lasting impression.
In a period of time in which we are bombarded with an endless stream of depressing news, and a presidential race defined by the worst aspects of humanity, last night’s show provided a momentary-but-refreshing escape and reminder that human joy still exists.