Live Bloops: UMA / Dan Deacon @Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

This evening was a test for sound equipment, ears, and stamina all the same. Cranked up to eleven, the sets of experimental electronic artist Dan “Crazy” Deacon and Berlin duo UMA beforehand blasted bass or drums sometimes on your ears, sometimes directly into your stomach. Both sets couldn’t have been more opposite in atmosphere and composure though.

The recordings of UMA reminded me of Julia Holter, as I wrote a few days ago. But live they played it louder and more direct than her, though I have to admit I haven’t been to a show by Holter yet – but her Yours Truly video gave me an impression. And while Ella’s voice is much like Julia’s, Flo put out some dark and disturbing breaks and bass sounds that made me quite uncomfortable in the way they physically attacked my body. The effect was inteded, I guess, giving the show a haunted feel for the most part. One yet unreleased more upbeat track in the middle of the set was a nice release of tension, and although Ella’s etheral voice didn’t always manage to carry this vibe, I am curious what they will make of this new material.

Dan Deacon then ambushed the legs, or more like the whole body. With a lot of ex-pats in the room, most of the crowd seemed to know what they were getting into. I wasn’t, and the density and sheer force of the show left me laughing with astonishment at first. Dan used live and “processed” drums, as he called it, relentlessly and loudly. And he played with the crowd a lot. Sometimes reminding me of what a frat party or spring break must be like, he intiated games every second song, told funny stories and was entertainer as much as musician. Seeming totally at ease in his cubicle of equipment mounted at ground level, he made the crowd feel the same way – and if you were up to participate, it was not only ridiculous, but a ridiculous amount of fun.


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