Barcelona's Sónar festival is the last place you'd ever expect to hear Heart's "Magic Man." Sónar, after all, is known as a festival for "advanced music" — that is, cutting-edge club music, left-of-center pop, and multimedia experiments. Whereas Heart are, well, Heart — AOR icons, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and pretty much synonymous with '70s hard rock.
But no one batted an eye when, on a Thursday afternoon last month, the song came wafting through the speakers in a room tucked away in a hidden corner of the festival's sprawling daytime complex. And that had everything to do with the selectors responsible for putting it on: LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and David and Stephen Dewaele, of Soulwax and 2ManyDJs.
Actually, that's not entirely true: Quite a lot of the credit also went to the sound system they were playing on, which rendered the sisters' strummed acoustic guitars and flanged power chords in unusually vivid detail, practically as visceral as the beads of sweat streaming down dancers' faces in the packed, humid room. It was a safe bet that you'd never heard "Magic Man" quite like this — or anything else the DJs played during their three-day mini-residency at the festival, spinning for six-hour stretches on a custom-made system they had brought over from the U.K., and mixing up space disco and acid house with prog rock and, well, whatever else they had in their bags. And what big bags, too, with some 1500 pieces of vinyl between them.