Chicago Reader … BAATHHAUS feature article

“Last Halloween at Beauty Bar’s Monday-night variety show, Salonathon, I happened to see a synth-pop group called Daan—a trio of svelte gay men who on this particular evening were decked out S&M style, in black hot pants, leather chest harnesses, chains, and studded codpieces. The moment they hit the stage they launched into a tightly choreographed dance that would’ve made a boy band blush—between the lascivious petting and pelvic thrusting, two members took turns literally picking up the third by the crotch. The front man made a beeline for the crowd, mike in hand, slinking smoothly through the crowd and between the rows of benches, and as he went he grabbed glasses of beer from strangers’ hands and downed them—sometimes between his lines, sometimes when he was obviously supposed to be singing.

From the beginning Daan had it in mind that no two shows would be the same—each one would debut a new narrative. “We were generating new songs for most of those shows, new choreography, new costuming,” Young says. “Everything was new for every show, which sort of kept us excited for a little bit.” The group would create intricate backstories for their characters after hitting upon an idea; the Salonathon Halloween show came out of a conversation about campy 80s vampire movie The Lost Boys.

At nearly every Daan show, someone would approach the band about another date. The band gigged during Pride weekend, did a couple fund-raisers for About Face Theatre, and played at quasi-underground fringe spaces (Reversible Eye Gallery), traditional venues (Elbo Room, Town Hall Pub), and nightclubs (Berlin). One of Daan’s first dates at Berlin was a 2010 Lollapalooza preparty headlined by Lady Gaga’s tour DJ, Lady Starlight. In May 2010, About Face marketing director Jane Beachy booked Daan for an art party at Gold Coast salon Studio 110; she later became the group’s manager and snagged them an opening slot with Diamond Rings at the Bottle in March 2011. That show went over so well, Beachy says, that it helped her secure a Monday-night spot at Beauty Bar for Salonathon, which she launched in summer 2011.”

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