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U Street Music Hall
1115 U Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20009
Blisspop Disco Fest: Holy Ghost! (DJ Set) with Nancy Whang
, The Juan MacLean
(DJ Set), Jacques Renault
at U Street Music Hall
10 PM | $20 — $25 | 21+
Tickets go on sale Thursday, 7/12 at 10 AM
Two night passes to U Hall are on sale from Tuesday, 7/10 at 9 AM until Thursday, 7/12 at 9 AM
U Street Music Hall presents the first-ever Blisspop Disco Fest, a two-day celebration of the evolution of disco featuring performances from some of the most recognized names in dance music. Giorgio Moroder, the pioneering producer who is rightly called the «Father of Disco,» and acclaimed German dance DJ/producer Claptone will headline separate shows at the 9:30 Club. Late-night festivities at U Street Music Hall will include DJ sets from London-based queer disco collective Horse Meat Disco, DFA's Holy Ghost!, Juan Maclean, and Nancy Whang (of LCD Soundsystem) and more.
The weekend's four shows will let listeners appreciate disco’s past, present, and future, with performances by international superstars and sets from some of the area’s best disco DJs and producers. Don't miss out, disco fans!
Holy Ghost! (DJ Set)
Friends since attending elementary school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser were members of Automato, a rap group whose last releases, including a self-titled album released in 2003, were produced by the DFA's James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy. After Automato dissolved, Murphy and Goldsworthy encouraged Frankel and Millhiser to continue pushing toward dance music. Push they did; Frankel and Millhiser co-produced the warm and melodic “Hold On” with the DFA — settling on the Bar-Kays-referencing Holy Ghost! just prior to the vinyl pressing stage — and released it on the DFA label in October 2007. «I Will Come Back,» their second single, didn’t come out until 2009 but made an impact with its video — a remake of the indelible clip for New Order's “Confusion,” a snapshot of New York’s clubbing scene (with producer Arthur Baker reprising his role). The four-track Static on the Wire EP followed in 2010, continuing the duo’s uncanny ability to evoke the colorful, layered sound of early- to mid-‘80s club music. In 2011, Holy Ghost! released a self-titled album that included some of their previously released songs, as well as a guest appearance from the Michael McDonald on the closing «Some Children.» By that point, Holy Ghost! had also become one of the more prolific remix teams; they had re-worked (in some cases technically covering) tracks by MGMT, Moby, Cut Copy, Phoenix, the Juan MacLean, and Murphy's LCD Soundsystem. Their second album, Dynamics, was released on DFA in 2013.
Nancy Whang is an American singer and musician known for her work with The Juan MacLean and LCD Soundsystem.
The dance world way too often privileges the new, and not many dance artists write albums as good as In A Dream, the third full-length album by The Juan MacLean, this far into their career. The Juan MacLean have weathered electroclash, disco-punk, electro-disco, techno, house, deep house, and whatever we can call the sound of today. They never feel totally in step with the moment, but somehow always feel right and necessary. Put differently: there's always something exciting to say about the music, regardless of the release date.
Let's start with Nancy Whang. Nancy's voice has always been a kind of secret weapon on The Juan MacLean records, but this album is her triumph. Just take a look above at the album art where she's front and center. This is the Nancy Show — you get all sides of Nancy on this record, a wide range of expression. These are all love songs, but emotions run wild. And you can't pull this off without Nancy — she's not living in these songs, she's leading them.
Like every Juan record, this one quotes freely from house and techno and disco. Dead drums and vintage synthesizers are abundant. This is a DFA record, after all. But early on in their career, The Juan MacLean stopped sounding like genres and just started sounding like The Juan MacLean. Part of that is lyrical — how the words interact with the melodies that carry them. The diction is always off in all the right ways. Another distinction is how much fun Juan and Nancy have with the arrangements of their songs. Different parts interact and play off one another in a way that's remindful of the interplay on classic disco records.
The Juan MacLean always get away with EVERYTHING. For one, they always figure out a way to make the very old sound very new. For instance, the main groove on the album's first track, «A Place Called Space,» is a combination of epic prog/rock, phased hi-hats, Moroder bass, vocals on delay, spacey lyrics. You've heard this before. But the surprise chorus halfway through is what makes it work: «It's too late, don't play your games here anymore,» Nancy sings. All that color and emotion... like she's chastising the song itself. Secondly, they always GO THERE. The sounds you're just not supposed to reach for, the Juan always reaches for.
Jacques is a DJ and producer from the Washington, D.C. are a who lives and works in Brooklyn. He runs Let's Play House, a roving house, disco, and techno party as well as a n imprint of the same persuasion, with friend and partner, Nik Mercer. He owns three plants, a rotary mixer, thousands of records, and a similar number of T-shirts. Despite working within the confines of a different genre, Dischord Records is still probably his favorite label.