This Weekend in Free Shows: Dan Deacon and Karl Blau

Dan Deacon(Sucka Pants’ flickr) Karl Blau (Sea Fitch’s flickr)Dan Deacon live at the Whitney Museum of American Art: Friday February 8th 2008.

This show was a great experience for those who could get in. KLK and I got the the museum around 5:15 (to look at art before the show), and got in using the Ticket I purchased from my work(a very long time ago), and Kristy used her student ID. Although the show was “free,” because the museum is free from 6pm-9pm on Fridays, there was a limited capacity. A line was already forming for the show inside the museum before 6pm (people that had paid to get in early), and a line for free admission was already forming when we got there at 5:15.

We got in the line inside the museum around 5:45, and by this time there was already a huge line on the street of people waiting to get in for free. The capacity was limited to 250 people, which was really small considering the cult following of Dan Deacon and the location. The area where the show was was ‘sold out’ by 6:30 or 6:45, and there was still a whole bunch of people in line outside (you could see the line through the giant windows from where the show was). I didn’t realize that the museum sold beers, which was nice being that it was a Friday, and that I was ready to dance like a wounded dinosaur. Dan Deacon didn’t start playing until about 7:20, and he played for about an hour. When I say played this is a little misleading because they were filming the show (not quite sure for what), and Dan did lots of explaining about what type of crowd interaction he wanted(detailed instructions on chants, hand motions, and dancing). So with this being said, it was still pretty amazing seeing him play the museum (and how well the crowd listened considering his somewhat complex instructions between each song). It was crowded (unlike the last time seeing him play at The Yard out in Brooklyn), so much so that it was hard to dance. The crowd was more or less young(an all ages event), and we were in the midst of a bunch of high school age kids (not a bad thing), but some of them were moshing like they were at a rap-metal show(a bad thing) rather than dancing. Even though there was some lame dancing around us , that didn’t stop from having a good time. The people next to us were making crazy glasses and animals out of pipe cleaners, silly string and glitter were flying, and a hand full of people were dressed in costume. Having been in the midst of the crowd for most of the show, we moved to the back for the last two songs. The security was pretty cool because rather than try to regulate the crowd they were just laughing. Lyrics sheets for Wham City! were passed out for a mass sing-a-long, and an extended version of the song finished up the show.

Overall, as always, Dan Deacon was a lot of fun. I hope when he comes back to New York he plays a space with a little bit more of a relaxed setting, but seeing a show at the a museum is always a good thing….reminds me of Les Savy Fav at the MoMA

Karl Blau at Piano’s (in the lounge): Sunday February 10th, 2008

Karl Blau made one of my favorite records of last year (so was Dan Deacon), and has been living in New York City this winter (originally from the pacific northwest). You may know Karl Blau from playing with Phil Elverum, Calvin Johnson, or the band D+, but I have become infatuated with him due to his solo releases. I missed his shows over the past couple weeks (he played at the Creek and the Cave, and at the Silent Barn), but KLK and I were able to make it to this early show at Piano’s. The upstairs lounge at Piano’s is kind of jungle themed, and the beer selection isn’t quite as good as the bar downstairs, but there are plenty of places to sit and it is a really relaxed atmosphere (while the normal bar downstairs remained pretty much a Lower East Side club scene)…oh and the best part is that the lounge is that it’s always free (I think). If there is ever another show that I want to see in this space I would happily go back.

We were able to get a couple seats on a couch right near where the bands were playing. Karl played from about 9 to 10:15pm last night… he opened with about four solo tracks, then brought Hospitality up to play with him, and finished up with another couple songs by himself. Karl did his normal thing: looping vocals and guitar, playing guitar, and singing during his solo songs (including one of the things that really impresses me: looping all of the tracks for the song, and then just singing along with the loops). His collaboration with Hospitality was a little more rocking, and yet very much Blau (he did bring out the saxophone for a jam session with the band). He finished up with a couple songs off of Dance Positive!, and we were on the train before 10:30 (I love an early show on a work night). Blau’s shows are really unpretentious, and this one really intimate (including his daughter requesting songs!), and for me they give a really positive vibe. His voice is pretty, but what makes him unique is the music that he plays to back it…his music might not be for everyone, but I find something extremely interesting about it…maybe he bridges the gap between a lot of styles that I love. Blau changes up his live preformance (and has a huge body of work…including a monthly CD periodical) so I look forward to seeing him play again. As far as the lounge at Piano’s goes it is a really wonderful space, but there was one lame aspect and that was that the music from the bar downstairs was so loud that the musicians playing in the lounge had to compete with it (I guess there is always room for improvement).

Side note: Both Dan Deacon’s and Karl Blau’s families were there…just something that I don’t see happen too often.


Photo Credits:

Dan Deacon(Sucka Pants’ flickr)

Karl Blau (Sea Fitch’s flickr)

One Response to “This Weekend in Free Shows: Dan Deacon and Karl Blau”

  1. I was so sad that I couldn’t get in to the dan deacon show. it wasn’t very fun to watch ppl dancing from outside.

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