This is Detroit techno legend Juan Atkins spinning at P.S. 1 on Saturday as part of the gallery's WarmUp music series. For the uninitiated, WarmUp is held every Saturday in P.S. 1's courtyard from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. While a mixed crowd's members attempt to dance (spacial and genetic restraints often prevent this), struggle internally with exactly how far the sun has to go down before the sunglasses can come off and sip overpriced beer that tastes like paste, a pack of DJs spin, their sets ringing out in the open air. A lot of really great DJs play this party -- Lindstrom played last week and it kills me that I missed it. I thought maybe Juan would make up for my loss, but no -- he was less than magic.
Not-so-Magic Juan started spinning his Sybil-esque set around 7:20. He shifted moods and styles constantly, which is fine, but also arbitrarily, which is not. Discofied house would abruptly give way to menacing acid. Driving Italo disco would bump into airy, deep house. Structurally, his set made little sense, but he still worked in plenty of classic material that was great to hear. Songs I recognized included: Deep Sensation's "Somehow, Somewhere (There's a Soul Heaven)," Fun Fun's "Happy Station," Donna Summer's "I Feel Love," A Number of Names' "Shari Vari" (which the crowd met with a glazed look and minimal head nodding -- a sure sign of its collective wackness) and Kraftwerk's "Numbers."
He played "Clear," the proto-techno classic he helped create, and then bled in an instrumental of Missy Elliott's "Lose Control," which samples "Clear" and probably has put more money in his pocket than any other single recording. That was cute. Toward the end, he started playing disco and boogie -- halfway through the Universal Robot Band's "Dance and Shake Your Tamborine," throngs were leaving (discophobes!). He closed out with some hip-house (the Jungle Brothers' "I'll House You" and Maurice's "This Is Acid"). Again, cute, but not as interesting as some of the crowd.
There are a few steps leading up to the landing with the museum's entrance. On this landing, the turntables are set up. People (like those pictured above) stand on these stairs facing the crowd, though many of them should have rethought putting their bad dancing on display.
Also, the open-air and early nature of WarmUp means people do things there that they wouldn't normally, say, at a club. Things such as bringing children . . .
. . . and dogs.
On the upside, this girl's tattoo was awesome:
And this guy's low-end was juicier than anything Juan provided.