Weekend Parties: Laurent Garnier, Octave One, Steve Aoki, and More

Steve Aoki plays the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Saturday

There's so much going on in San Francisco these days that it can sometimes be hard to keep track of it all. This weekend is no exception, with a whole crop of alluring events. We've got a big party tonight (Jan. 19) featuring French techno mastermind Laurent Garnier, a performance on Friday by classic Detroit techno group Octave One, the grand opening of new superclub The Grand, a party with Steve Aoki that starts at 8 p.m., and even a DJ set by yours truly. Read on -- your weekend awaits.

Thursday, Jan. 19

What: Public Works and As You Like It presents Laurent Garnier
Where: Public Works
When: 9:30 p.m. - 3 a.m. (Garnier goes on at 10:30 p.m.)
Why: Though France might be better known for its poppy disco house and electro, dig a little deeper and you'll inevitably come across the storied career of Laurent Garnier. A DJ since the mid-'80s, he was one of the driving figures behind the popularization of house and techno in continental Europe. Since then Garnier has become one of the world's most respected DJs and producers, leaving a trail of singles, albums, remixes, and mixtapes in his wake. His first appearance in San Francisco in over ten years, his performance at As You Like It promises to be a special affair. A part of the "Live Booth Sessions" tour, the concept is that he'll play a live and improvisatory set aided by Scan X (on "machines") and Benjamin Rippert (on keyboards). Get into the mood by watching this promo video and this clip of Garnier and company performing "The Man With The Red Face."

Friday, Jan. 20

What: Octave One Live
Where: Club Six
When: 9 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Why: Considered one of Detroit's best techno bands, Octave One is the recording alias of brothers Lawrence and Lenny Burdon. Active in the dance music world since 1990, their soulful take on techno has proven to be a lasting concept, and tracks like "Blackwater," "Siege," and "Nicolette" have since become a part of the pantheon of classics. Now the brothers return to San Francisco for a live performance at Club Six in support of Revisited (Here, There, and Beyond), their upcoming retrospective compilation. Watch this video (and choice interview) of Octave One performing live at Sub Club in Glasgow.

What: DJ Dials and Blasthaus present Passion Pit (DJ Set)
Where: 103 Harriet
When: 10 p.m. - 3 a.m.
Why: Full disclosure: I'm going to be DJing on this bill. That being said, this is a fine opportunity to come out and catch a DJ set by Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos and two other members of the band. Breaking through into mainstream popularity in 2008, their tracks -- such as "Sleepyhead," "I've Got Your Number," and "Little Secrets" -- show off a sound that merges the accessibility of indie dance with elements of nudisco, electro, and pop tech-house. Though the group hasn't released anything lately, deeper and dancefloor friendly remixes of their work (like Grum's version of "To Kingdom Come" and Jack Beats' re-rub of "Little Secrets") have remained favorites among discerning dancefloors and DJs. Come early and say hi, I'll be DJing in the main room at 11 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 21

What: The Grand opening party featuring DJ Gabe Saporta
Where: The Grand
When: 10 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Why: The story of the venue at 520 4th St. is one entwined with the fabric of San Francisco's pre-rave dance music history. In the 1970s, the address was the location for the city's most notorious (and forward thinking) gay disco, the Trocadero Transfer. Yet, since the closure of the Trocadero in the '90s and its subsequent re-branding, the location saw an unfortunate descent into mediocrity and bad sound. Now, changing hands once again, it's been completely renovated and outfitted with a brand new Funktion One soundsystem. Dubbed "The Grand," the latest incarnation describes itself as being "Vegas inspired." We're not sure that's exactly the best marketing strategy in San Francisco, but the club's list of accoutrements and special effects looks to provide Ruby Skye with ample competition. Saturday marks the club's grand opening, and as such it's throwing a big party with a DJ set by Cobra Starship's Gabe Saporta. If you don't know who that is, jog your memory by listening to "You Make Me Feel (feat. Sabi)" and "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)".

What: Steve Aoki and Datsik
Where: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
When: 8 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Why: It's hard to deny the enduring popularity of Steve Aoki. Since his rise to fame in the mid-'00s, he's become one of the defining figures of the modern American electro phenomenon. Known for his showmanship as a DJ and abrasive tunes, he comes to San Francisco for a special leg of his Deadmeat tour. Designed to promote Wonderland, his guest-heavy solo debut, the show promises to be an intense audio-visual experience with support from Canadian dubstep artist Datsik. Get excited for the evening by listening to Aoki's "Livin' My Love ft. LMFAO & Nervo" and Datsik's "Retreat (Excision)."

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