Thursday, April 15, 2010

Concert Review: Dan Deacon, Ed Schrader

Dan Deacon, Ed Schrader
Saturday April 3 2010 at CMU (Baker lawn)
with Lisa, Deepak

This was a fun show, and drew quite a crowd of CMU students on a Saturday night. It was held outside on the campus quad between Baker and Doherty Halls. Deepak and Lisa and I were in the office all evening working on probability homework; that reminds me of an interesting problem that came up on that homework that is simple enough to pose to anybody but somewhat tricky to solve. Consider the following game: a single die will be rolled (up to) N times. After each roll, we can choose to either accept the current roll and get paid $x where x is the face value of the current roll, or else reject it and roll the die again. Once rejecting a roll, we cannot return and get paid that amount. When the Nth roll is reached, we must accept its value. What is the optimal stopping strategy? That is, how do we decide whether to accept the current roll (based on current value, rolls remaining, what we've seen, wind direction, whether Jupiter aligns with Mars, etc.) such that we maximize the average expected payoff? Keep in mind this is a function of N, so the answer may be different for N=1,2,3,4,...

Okay, that was tangential. Hah. Anyway, we wandered outside around 9ish to catch the opening act, Ed Schrader. I'm usually curious about any act, opening or headlining, that is just a single first name-last name combo. It signifies some kind of lead singer with a backup band, or some one-man-band style music. This time, Ed played a drum and sang. And that was about it, from what I could see/hear. It was crazily captivating; his voice was deep and droning and the drumbeat pulled that feeling along like a lovesick tugboat with someplace to be. (Good luck figuring out what that means.) Here are some videos and links related to Ed Schrader. More music links below. I enjoyed his music. Unfortunately, some douchebag behind us did not and kept yelling stupid shit. So somewhere towards the end of the set I turned around and told him to shut up. Except I yelled it fairly loudly, quite possibly in his face. Oh well. Some people are just so fucking rude.

Dan Deacon played next and “rocked” the “house”. I saw him once before last summer as part of the No DeacHunter tour at Mr. Small's and was fairly impressed, although he seemed like the odd man out of the 3 bands. I love Deerhunter and No Age is great, but his style just didn't quite mesh with mine; it was too dancey and electronic for my usual taste. For some reason, this show at CMU changed my view. Maybe it was that, due to the superior sonicality of the venue (i.e. the great outdoors), I could understand his banter and lyrics. And his banter was pretty great. He started the set by dictating a so-called shared experience for the whole audience, wherein we all knelt on one knee and said some stuff in unison. Sorry but I'm fuzzy on details. From there, we collectively proceeded to jump and bop and hop and slop and chop and drop and mop and flop around to his funktastic electronical futuristicopoppytoppy beats. Not to mention his crazy light displays. I've never really listened to his album stuff (a handful of tracks on Lala the day of the show, basically) but the live stuff is fantabulasticous. I really enjoyed the show as a music show, not necessarily as a musical oeuvre. Sobeit. My only regret is wearing Birkenstocks, since my toes were fairly frequently trampled by fellow concertgoers. Also, the Facebook event for this show, run by CMU's Activities Board, sent the following message later that night:
“It brings us great sorrow to announce that one of the attendee's of Dan's recent show stole Mr. Deacon's prized green-glowing-strobing skull. We offered to buy him a new one, but he noted that the skull has been around the world with him. He was visibly saddened by this loss. If you or anyone you know has any information on how to reclaim Dan's skull please let us know. We won't try to get you in trouble, we just want to make Dan happy.
Before the skull went missing he announced that this was the first night in a while in which he had not wept. Please do everything in your power to help him out.”
And yes, Dan did announce that he had not wept that night, for the first night in a long time. Some people are so fucking rude. Two hours later, a message was sent to announce the skull had been returned, thankfully. In the future, let's all try to be nice to each other, mmkay?

Ed Schrader:
”I Can't Stop Eating Sugar” live in Chicago
Live with No Age's Randy Randall (yes, his real name)
Live with Jana Hunter of Lower Dens
A totally different Ed Schrader

Dan Deacon:
”Crystal Cat” music video
Interviewed/featured on ABC's indie music series Amplified
Live at Pitchfork Music Fest 2k7

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