On Concert-Going and Dan Deacon's Live App
    • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 04, 2012

    • Posted by: Andrew Gruttadaro

    Last week, on the heels of releasing his euphoric, expansive album America, Dan Deacon released something else -- his very own smartphone app. As you may or may not already know, the app has three different functions, all of which vary based on where you are in the venue -- an instrument, a colored light source, and a strobe light. For a guy who's renowned for his high-energy, highly interactive live shows -- the guy's started dance battles at his shows -- it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that he's on the cutting edge of fan interaction. For the first time, holding up an iPhone at a concert won't be obtrusive. And for the first time really, an artist is going to be able to control his audience; to create a cohesive movement.

    That's assuming everyone at the shows feel like taking out their phones (also: assuming they all have smartphones to take out).

    I'm a little weary to get all the way behind this. I staunchly believe that the prime reason for attending a concert is to experience songs you like in their most organic setting, and to see a respective artist do what he or she's best at. A smartphone app geared towards concerts alters this -- now, the prime reason for going to a Dan Deacon show is to use your iPhone to see some cool shit. The music comes second. And as far as letting the audience contribute to a show instrumentally -- please don't. Even though all the app reportedly does is make old modem noises, I paid to see Deacon do his thing; I definitely didn't pay to hear fans press buttons.

    Deacon might actually just be fighting technology instead of working with it -- so many people take out their phones (I'm one of them) at concerts to snap pictures/videos, text and tweet that a good fraction of the audience is actually outside of the concert experience. With this app, Dan Deacon is taking away that impulse. He's reappropriating how you use your cell phone. I applaud him for trying to take back the live setting, for trying to force people to get into it.

    Admittedly, I'm writing this blindly. This app may change the concert experience in such a profound way, while maintaining the baseline importance of the music that I will never want to attend an app-less concert again. It may make you feel like you're truly part of a bigger thing; make you feel united with a room full of strangers. Also, it might just be really effing cool to see a sea of different colors projected on countless, tiny screens (and as far as publicity goes, I'm sure Dan Deacon shows are selling out a lot quicker, and not because America is awesome).

    One thing's definitely for sure, though. Explaining America's more mature sound, Dan Deacon told Pitchfork, "I noticed people were coming f-cked up, like, on ecstasy. It made me feel like shit that I was enabling culture I wanted nothing to do with." Welp, sorry Dan -- I think you just enabled rave culture way more than ever.

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