There is a dance music storm brewing these days, and while I've only seen a handful of DJs live, I was eager to check out Teen Daze and Beat Connection this past Thursday at Knitting Factory. Teen Daze (a.k.a. Matt Halverson) opened with slow, ambient songs from his latest release All of Us, Together, including the elegant “Treten” and “For Body and Kenzie.” Repetitive but never boring, Halverson’s sound strikes a pretty balance between Avicii’s catchiness and DJ Shadow’s moodiness.
Transported by the audience’s infectious enthusiasm, Halverson became more and more animated as the set progressed. The highlight came when Halverson cleverly inserted the opening lines of Earth Wind & Fire's “Let’s Groove” to a hip-shaking bass line. The crowd immediately responded, shouting out as Halverson smiled and boogied along. The sample had the same effect as so many of Moby’s famed clips - though it was, if anything, more enjoyable. Here was a classic and beloved dance song repurposed for a new generation.
Halfway through Beat Connection's closing set, Reed Juenger, one-half of the Seattle-based duo, mentioned that it was the very first show they had ever sold out, and how happy they were to be in New York. New York was clearly happy to have them, the crowd responding excitedly to every song. Somewhere between Hot Chip and Phoenix, Juenger and vocalist Tom Eddy have created a chillwave sound that is all their own, referencing the eighties without getting stuck there. Part of this is surely due to Eddy's Jamie Cullum-esque voice, which provides an interesting foil to Jordan Koplowitz’s drum machine-based rhythms and echoing guitars. Taking in the audience’s enthusiasm, I suddenly realized it might be awhile before I’d get to see Beat Connection from the front row again.