When you’re immersed in the chaos of Miami’s Winter Music Conference, it’s impossible to stick to a set schedule. For 10 days at the end of March, WMC brings together dance-music fans from around the world seeking to absorb the sun of Miami beach and the sound of booming beats. Circuits was in attendance wearing several hats, and our well-planned itinerary quickly went out the window. But we managed to keep tabs on two names New Englanders have come to call their own: DJ KON and the JUAN MacLEAN. Kon was in town for a high-profile gig at the plush Shore Club with his partner AMIR. And Juan played a few gigs with his homonymous band while also reinvigorating his DJ career. (Disclosure notice: he plays a free gig April 6 at “Make It New” at the Middlesex Lounge, with yours truly opening.)
Juan played Thursday night at the District, a suave lounge in Miami’s design district, alongside hip DJs like JAMES F!@#$%^ FRIEDMAN, JUSTINE D from NYC’s Motherfucker party, and new Vice Recordings artists JUSTICE. When a promoter screw-up saw our hero shuttled to a red-lit side room, he noted, “I don’t really have any records to play to like three people.” Nonetheless, he opened his set with some of his most banging tracks. “That was sort of a joke, coming on all hard like that when nobody’s here,” he noted later. As the DJ elite began to trickle in (including Beatsinspace.net’s Tim Sweeney and Ghostly Records’ Matthew Dear, Juan hit his stride with a set of deep disco grooves that kicked off with Moodymann’s classic “I Can’t Kick This Feelin’ When It Hits.” Cluttered with trancy big-beat rhythms, the main room began to send fashionable clubbers Juan’s way: upon turning the corner into his field of sound, one patron was overheard to say, “Oh, yeah, this is better.”
Saturday morning, Kon checked in from the beach to talk about the previous night’s BBE party. “It was a weird night. They put me on first and JAZZY JEFF and BOBBITO were outside.” Kon was chilling with other Bostonians who made the trip — KC HALLETT, NGP PRODUCTIONS, and SPECIAL TEAMZ (EDO G, JAYSAUN and SLAINE). . . . Later that night, the Juan MacLean (the band) performed at the M3 Summit, the more respectable — though heavily sponsored — alternative to the over-glamorous WMC. Only minutes before going on, Juan looked at the gathering crowd. “I do have a new policy where I don’t talk to guys. I only talk to women. ’Cause guys just want to ask about the gear. They want to geek out, and I’m not about that.” Minutes later, he was making the beachfront crowd bounce like so many superballs. Still later, Juan made an appearance at the storied Revolver party, which is held at Miami’s best music venue, the Pawn Shop, and generally considered the conference’s finest. This year, DJs like HELL, DJ T, and PEACHES performed alongside live acts from HOT CHIP to BOOKA SHADE. During MacLean’s set, in the darkest room of the cavernous club, the packed dance floor reached a fever pitch on his single “Give Me Every Little Thing” when a loopy fan hoisted a vintage mannequin onto the outstretched hands of the horde. The female form crowd-surfed throughout the jam until an informed employee took action. After the track, Juan stared down the instigator and, in appreciation, threw him a drumstick.
David Day hosts Free the DJ Wednesdays at ZuZu and spins Fridays at Enormous Room
On the Web
Miami Winter Music Conference: http://www.wintermusicconference.com/
Juan MacLean: http://www.thejuanmaclean.com/
Email the author
David Day: firstname.lastname@example.org.