Juan MacLean

Avalon, August 24

By Jonah Flicker

The parking gods were smiling on this chilly Friday night. It’s 11:45, I’m in the area around Hollywood and Vine, and I actually find a street spot in less than six minutes? Sweet satisfaction. I’m heading over to Club 82, where the DFA-affiliated Juan MacLean has flown in from NYC to work his turntable magic. As it turned out, there was an abundance of the former while maybe the latter could have used a touch of fairy dust.

Photos by Jonah Flicker. More after the jump

Avalon’s cavernous environs were about half empty, as most of the crowd milled around while a brave few got spastic on the dance floor. Rico from Belle and Sebastian was the reigning selectah at the moment, mixing up a punky brew of electro and jagged post-punk anthems – Talking Heads and Gang of Four remixes buttressed up against disco-bass-laden beats and Hitchcock-stab guitar bursts.

And just who the hell were those stage dancers surrounding the DJ booth? Most likely friends of the talent who wanted the world to see them getting it on. An element of exhibition clung to their main-stage popping and locking.

Juan MacLean didn’t take over the decks until after 1, and suddenly the room got a little darker. His set relied more on murky, dirty techno beats than ‘80s tunes, bringing an icy veneer to the slightly thinning dance floor. The shift in tone was to be expected, as his excellent 2005 debut release, Less Than Human, unabashedly claims the world of shadowy e-music as its roots.

Still, club warriors and indie kids soldiered on, even though maybe a record skipped once or twice and a beat wasn’t matched just so… But why nitpick? The man bobbed his bald head and worked the crossfade, as disembodied voices floated up from a couple of spinning wax discs and the crowd followed its fervent command to “shake and pop.”

Juan MacLean music: https://www.myspace.com/thejuanmaclean

–Jonah Flicker

All photos by Jonah Flicker

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