Dan Deacon turns audience into sea of strobe lights with concert app

Here’s one show you don’t need to turn off your smartphone for. Electronic musician, composer, and rabble-rousing performer Dan Deacon ignited his iPhone and Android concert app for the first time in Canada during his performance in Vancouver at the Biltmore on October 26.

Show goers were invited to download the app during the show, turn it on during a specified song “WITHOUT THE USE OF ANY WIFI OR DATA!” as the iTunes description gleefully explains, and fuel a glittering spectacle of light and sound from their devices.

All around the room, psychedelic colours pulsed from screens in rhythmic chaos, LEDs blinked in hyper mode, and speakers vibrated with the bass line. Deacon beckoned the audience to hold their phones up and point the light towards the stage. Bodies bobbed around amidst a scattered rainbow of screens. Friday night, sweat and tech united in electro-pop glory.

And while the app is primarily used for shows, it also features a custom interactive musical instrument for users to create their own tunes, and access to tour information, news, and other goodies.

Deacon is known for experimenting with audience participation and use of space during his performances. Friday night there was a dance off, a human-made tunnel stretching outside the Biltmore and back in again, and a sensitive moment during “Bromst” where spectators were asked to touch the head of the person in front of them.

The app adds to every concert’s one-of-a-kind experience. It can sync with several songs, giving Deacon flexible creative control of each performance.

Developed by Keith Lea, with assistance from Robert O’Brien, Alan Resnick, and Peter McMinn, the version update from September lets iPad users join in the fun too. I wouldn’t advise bringing an iPad into a Dan Deacon mosh pit, though.

Sarah Bauer is a local freelance writer.

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Meathead
That was the coolest show yet this year!
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