A fascinating, genre-bending, multifaceted, and beloved indie electropop artist (as well as composer, producer, and much more), Baltimore’s Dan Deacon has, since the earliest days of this site, delivered some of the most memorable, immersive, and unique live shows we’ve ever witnessed in Nashville. Though he’s been busy with a host of other artistic ventures, Deacon’s solo career had been a bit quiet the past few years, which changed last month with the release of long-awaited but stellar new LP, Mystic Familiar. Out in support, Dan will return to Nashville for the first time in a few years tonight, March 1, for a headlining performance at The Basement East with long-time musical cohorts and fellow Baltimore act, post-punks Ed Schrader’s Music Beat! Surely one of the most essential live shows of the year for fans of substantive and experimental indie and punk, tickets are still available right here while they last. Read on for more about the show!
One of the most unique, multi-faceted, genre-bending, and artistically engaging artists of the century so far, Baltimore based, New York bred artist and composer Dan Deacon exists in a strange zone where he’s beloved by the indie, electronic, and more art-minded underground scene, having also made some impressive accomplishments in the contemporary classical world, and has even been an early force in early viral internet culture of the aughts, but still remains just outside of the mainstream in recognition. Hailing from Long Island, Deacon took to music in his youth, but really cut his teeth in the arts scene with more genre and multimedia experimentation while a student at SUNY Purchase, honing his skills both as a composer and electronic artist and self-releasing early works on burned CDs. Not long after graduation, Deacon moved to Baltimore, where he established a music and arts collective with some fellow Purchase alumni, and began to hone his signature experimental indie and electro pop sound. After nabbing a deal with buzzy label Carpark, Dan released his first formal LP, Spiderman of the Rings, in 2007, swiftly catching the eye of trendy music press like Pitchfork at a time when substantive indie rock was beginning to dominate musical culture. The ensuing decade would be quite a journey, with Deacon perfecting his signature live show, often rich with audience participation, avant garde experimentation, and the immersion of a performing alone in the middle of the crowd (though occasionally fleshed out with a huge backing ensemble). Continuing to grow in critical acclaim, Dan released Bromst in 2009, before veering into more introspective and less augmented work with 2012’s America, and breaking through more broadly with 2015’s inspired and cohesive Gliss Riffer. Along the way, Deacon shared the stage with acts ranging from The Flaming Lips + Miley Cyrus to Arcade Fire, honed his skills as a composer by scoring numerous films, worked collaboratively with other artists, and branched out into contemporary classical, even making his debut at Carnegie Hall. Since Gliss, many of those various other artistic outlets have continued, including production and co-writing on Ed Schrader’s Music Beat’s third LP, Riddles, but it wasn’t until just last month that Deacon finally unveiled his first full-length in five years, Mystic Familiar. The multifaceted artist’s most personal, beautiful, and lush work to date, Mystic is at once the product of personal and artistic reflection and healing, as well as the culmination of all of Dan’s prior work, as a solo artist and otherwise, making for perhaps his best and certainly his most cathartic and whole effort to date. A longtime live favorite in various spots around Nashville, Dan Deacon is an artist who must be witnessed in person to fully appreciate, and with long-awaited new material in tow, his return to town should be one of the year’s most essential shows.
ED SCHRADER’S MUSIC BEAT
Springing out of the same Baltimore music scene as Dan Deacon, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat existed for a few early years as a visceral, solo vehicle for Ed Schrader, who played brief, primal, punk inspired tunes accompanied only by a floor tom. Around a decade ago, Schrader linked up with musical kindred spirit Devlin Rice, who joined on bass and helped fill out and cement the group’s artsy and indie post-punk and garage punk sound. Not long after a well-received debut LP in Jazz Mind, the duo signed to Nashville’s own Infinity Cat for their sophomore effort, Party Jail, which, along with regular tour stops in Music City, should make them more than familiar to those dialed into the local indie rock scene. A fascinating, weird, and critically-acclaimed punk group who’ve toured the world with a whole host of incredible artists, for their third and most recent album, Riddles, ECMB, as mentioned above, brought in Dan Deacon for an extended, collaborative, creative process which saw their sound and instrumental arsenal become filled out in a more layered and complete way than ever before. A logical choice to open this tour (and, hopefully, a band due for new tunes very soon), if you’re coming for Dan Deacon, you absolutely don’t want to miss Ed Schrader’s Music Beat’s opening set!
Dan Deacon and Ed Schrader’s Music Beat will perform tonight, March 1 at The Basement East. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $15.