Dressed in a dark blazer and white pants (after Labor Day, mind you!), John MacLean looked more like a professor than a dance-rocker. Perhaps his fashion sense is a remnant from his days teaching English in New Hampshire? Following a set from Chairlift, a Brooklyn-based trio whose career received a kick-start after Apple licensed “Bruises” for an iPod commercial, their fleeting allusions to Television and Bjork were bulldozed by The Juan MacLean’s dance floor pastiche and their fondness for disco, house, and techno.
Though MacLean’s vocals sounded a little off at times (probably due to technical problems), when he’s not singing and playing keyboards, he’s constantly adding hand percussion and tweaking gizmos that give his music an interesting effect. Most notably, the icy vocal of singer/keyboardist Nancy Whang (of LCD Soundsystem) is a perfect yin to MacLean’s yang. Their union shined on “Give Me Every Little Thing,” a throbbing, squelchy, funky number laden with Theremin. Thankfully void of needless irony, it tipped its hat to Parliament-Funkadelic. Along the way, they dropped “Happy House,” the first single from their forthcoming album, The Future Will Come, and it was a definite highlight. If tonight’s performance is any indication, the future for The Juan MacLean looks very bright.
Words & images: Darren Ressler