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June 2009 concerts summary

Again, I'm catching up on my concert reviews, so here's a quick summary of June.

I've already posted before about seeing The Juan MacLean and The Field on Monday June 8 at Nectar Lounge; that review was written for the KEXP Blog and can still be read there. However, let me give a couple excerpts:
Last Monday night when I went to Nectar Lounge to see The Juan MacLean and The Field, I didn’t know that I’d be at the hottest show in town. These two groups played sizzling sets of electronica to a packed and enthusiastic crowd. DJ Nordic Soul warmed up the club with a solid mix of dance music.
The Field’s music is very cool stuff, and I could easily listen for a few hours; it seems tailor-made for airplane flights, and I’ll have to pick up the aptly-named album From Here We Go Sublime before my next trip.
While The Field kept the club simmering for an hour, The Juan MacLean brought it up to a full boil with their high-energy synth rock. ... They built up to a stunning conclusion with “Happy House”, extended to over 20 minutes and climaxing several times, and then cooled things down in the encore with the mellow and dreamy “Tonight”.
Also, I was right next to the stage for The Juan Maclean's set, so I was able to get some pretty good photos, including John MacLean in action rocking the theremin. See the whole set here in Flickr.

I went to two other shows that week: KJ Sawka at Nectar Lounge on Friday June 12, and Hotels at the High Dive on Saturday June 13. I had already decided I wasn't going to blog about those shows, so I didn't take any notes. However, I can tell you that Sawka's show was to promote the release of his DrumBanger app for the iPhone (read more about it in this post on Line Out, The Stranger's music blog), and that while I still enjoy his music, I found that I'm getting a little tired of hearing the work from his two recent albums and would like to see him pursue a new direction. Oh I forgot that opening for Sawka was first DJ NoiseMaker, who I can't recall anything about, but then DJ Crime, billed as "Las Vegas's #1 VJ"—he mixed videos, using both music videos and other footage, which was fun to watch as well as hear.

As for the other show, Hotels played third in a set including Anomie Belle, Born Anchors, and (ostensible) headliners Furniture Girls. I reviewed Anomie Belle for the KEXP Blog when she opened for Tricky back in March, and I don't really have anything to add to that: she's got talent and potential, but despite her use of live violin loops, her music currently is kind of bland soulful trip-hop. I can't remember anything about Born Anchors, which suggests I didn't find them that interesting, but I know I didn't dislike them and really I'd have to hear them again to give any kind of review. Hotels were awesome of course and I danced like crazy through their set; I've really just about run out of things to say about them until they release some more new music, which is why I had decided I wouldn't blog about this show, but here I am. Finally, my opinion also hasn't changed much on Furniture Girls: they're fun, the band is really solid, but they just don't quite win me over somehow. However, they did have a strong-voiced guest backup singer for most of the set, which made a real difference as the original Furniture Girls synth-player/backing vocalist doesn't have a voice strong enough to match the lead singer (that original member hasn't been replaced, just moved back to focus more on the synths).

The other two shows were good overall, but I do have to say The Juan MacLean and The Field were a phenomenal bill, definitely one of the best shows of the year.

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