The annual Rock the Garden concert outside the Walker Art Center this weekend will include some familiar names like Bob Mould and the Duluth band Low. But opening the concert, which is co-sponsored by The Current, will be a Baltimore native who is perhaps best known for his distinctive live performances.
Dan Deacon is an electronic composer who mixes performance art and crowd participation to turn a typical concert experience on its head. There will likely be dance lines.
Deacon said he tries to look at the audience as a collective, rather than merely as a collection of random individuals.
“I try to think about audience dynamic a lot and think about what an audience does to a performance and how you can change what happens in an audience by including them and giving them the option of choice and direction,” Deacon said.
Although he also performs with bands, at Saturday’s show Deacon will perform alone.
“When I play solo, I play on the floor…and I’d much rather do more of a party sort of vibe than a concert sort of vibe,” Deacon said.
Although many of the sounds in his last album are acoustic, his earlier albums were almost completely electronic.
“I didn’t play guitar. I had the same interest as someone who wanted to write song sand sit there and come up with lyrics to them, but I didn’t play it,” Deacon said. “But I knew how to input MIDI, and I enjoyed writings songs on a computer, and figuring out how to play those live.”
In recent years, Deacon has branched out into classical composing. He’s currently working on a piece for the Kronos Quartet.
Deacon opens Rock the Garden, which starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 15.