The Juan Maclean

8 August 2009 - Brooklyn

by Thomas Hauner

20 August 2009



John Maclean, the bald front man of electronic group the Juan Maclean, was precarious and awkward in between songs during his group’s late night set at the 12 hour long Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival. At one point he waved a baggie of coke, demonstrating his incentive scheme for bandmates. At others he heavy-handedly mocked the weed “addiction” of his keyboard player, explaining, “That’s why he makes so many mistakes.” And in case his own perfections weren’t clear enough, he boasted of mastering “the hardest instrument in the world to play.” Thankfully the tight time constraints of the festival (30 minute sets) left the Juan Maclean little time for onstage banter. Instead they pummeled the crowd with driving beats, skittish synthesizer lines, and introspective meditations on love.

Naturally, dance frenzy ensued. Maclean was impressive on his Theremin—an early electronic instrument played without physically touching it—sounding more precise and liberated on it since last seeing the group. Drummer Jerry Fuchs was punishing and effective behind his kit and Nancy Whang continually proves to be the perfectly earnest counterpoint to Maclean’s brashness. Rain was left to fall on subsequent band 33hz, and previous group Shy Love gained a Middle-Eastern flair to their otherwise keytar heavy songs with a live sax player. Overall the industrial setting of the Old American Can Factory was strangely intimate, lending the outdoor stage a fraternal prison-yard feel.

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.

//Mixed media


"No Dollars in Duende": On Making Uncompromising, Spirited Music

// Sound Affects

"On the elusive yet clearly existential sadness that adds layers and textures to music.

READ the article