Hi everybody. Long time, no see. Sorry about that..
I've got a backlog of rad stuff to post, but first things first, Juan Maclean hit Vancouver Tuesday night and absolutely killed it. I've seen dude rock a few solo sets and he was solid, mostly spinning early 90s house and techno classics, but it always left me wondering how amazing a full-band live performance would be. Last night I found out – it was killer.
The crowd was fairly sparse but very receptive, so the vibe was a good one. Aside from some juggling and adjusting of parts, it was cool to hear how close the live versions of the songs sounded to the recorded ones. Juan's band's drums/synth/theremin/pseudo-303 configuration faithfully recreated the sounds of all the songs.. not really a surprise since after a while it dawned on me that they functioned as a live band from the beginning and weren't just adapting their songs to a band situation.
After running through earlier singles "You Can't Have It Both Ways" and "Give Me Every Little Thing", a couple from Less Than Human, and a few new ones, I knew the final song would be a loooooong one when they announced 30-some minutes into the set that it was their last. As my Facebook status (ha!) alludes to, they ended with a massive 20 minute version of Happy House, with multiple breaks and extended acid action. Every time I thought they were done they brought it back again and the twists, turns and breaks kept things hype right until the end.
For me, 'live band' performances of hip-hop and dance music usually sacrifice the funkiness of the dance element and the energy of the band element and you get the worst of both worlds: a lethargic, incoherent mess that sounds like stiff studio musicians jamming on songs you thought you knew; snooze-ville. Not so here – everything hit just right and perfectly captured the essence of the songs, making it seem so easy and obvious. Hopefully they'll utilize the band more often for touring because it's a completely different and unique show.