Dan Black is a glam idol in the makings. Dressed in matching all-white ensembles and animalistic face paint, he and his lively guitarist roamed the Massive Stoned Garden stage at the SmokeOut Festival amidst teeth-rattling bass and synth tracks mixed with experimental guitar riffs. Dan Black's obviously un-American inflections reminded me a lot of Thomas Mars of Phoenix, but with a zanier edge à la of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes. There was even the occasional arrhythmic ambient beat akin to Animal Collective. But he seems far more intrigued by the experimental side of hip hop and dub glam, presenting his genre manipulations with a conviction that borders on religious. He knew every minute detail of his music, explaining their meaning with his hands as well as his vocal dynamics and effects. His interaction with the audience was limited; instead of banter he filled the space with as many electronic dance beats as he possible could (see video below).
Dan Black's lyrics weren't overtly sexual, but there was definitely a suggestive undertone to the pulsing dance beats and the lush delays on the vocals. At the end of his brief but potent thirty minute set, he thanked us for being there and cheerfully wished us all "a fuckin' brilliant day!" He's one of those artists who could take any genre and make you hear it in a totally new way. Whatever style he chooses, Dan Black's next endeavor is sure to be as unexpectedly fascinating as he is. He is currently on the East Coast for several dates; for a full tour schedule please visit his Myspace page. His full-length debut UN is now available on iTunes. Dan Black recently collaborated with Kid Cudi for a track on the album entitled 'Symphonies', the first song in the video below.