Lost in the Night: Lights Down Low Throws a Modern Massive at Public Works

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Derek Opperman
Danny Daze at work

Lights Down Low's Six Year Anniversary
Public Works
Feb. 17, 2012

Better Than: Bizarre forms of enthusiasm.

Is anybody else fascinated by the recent arrival of megaparties? It feels like every weekend there are more crazed promoters dumping money into increasingly larger events. Nowadays it's possible and entirely normal to go out and see multiple headline acts under the same roof on the same evening. The latest installment in this ongoing saga comes from party crew Lights Down Low, which celebrated its six-year anniversary last Friday at Public works with DJ performances by Ewan Pearson, Danny Daze, Todd Edwards, Creep, and many others.

I arrived in the main room of Public Works at a quarter to midnight. Inside, a loose group danced to a set of moody techno while blasts of hyperreal digital blobs glanced across the walls, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of an '80s interpretation of cyberspace. The dancefloor was breezy, but the bar and coat check were slammed with a rapidly growing crowd in fashionable attire.

Public Works seems an intentionally nondescript place. Like a museum, it assumes the form of whatever party it's hosting. In the case of Lights Down Low, the club was decorated with a massive amount of commanding posters. Every surface gleamed with its own unique Santos Party House/Frankie Goes to Hollywood-esque slogan that referenced gay culture and house music. Admittedly, it's a neat trick, but one whose exhortations of "Jack Your Body," "Go Deep Inside," and "I Wanna See You Vouge" (sic) seemed a little forced.

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Derek Opperman

If the downstairs dancefloor was underpopulated, then the OddJob loft was the vital heart of the party. I made my way up there shortly after arriving to find a packed floor dancing to a set of uptempo '90s house classics spun by Jerome from LOL Boys and Jamie from Acid Girls. Playing back-to-back, they kept the vibe going at a fast clip, their speed only interrupted by a few spinbacks and the odd breakdown. Their set together was one of the party's best, with a style and sense of flair that lived up to the promises implied by the party's posters.

Unfortunately, the energy of their performance was muddled by a rather lackluster set by Creep's Lauren Flax. Wearing an oversized shirt that loudly read "I'm in Miami," she moved away from house and into a permutation of UK bass and hip-hop. This switch from an easygoing four-on-the-floor was met initially with confusion and then absence as people decided to check out what was going on downstairs. Furthering the problem was Flax's stage presence, which consisted almost entirely of her quizzically looking at the mixer while shining her iPhone's screen at it. With a few fewer people in the room, two enterprising ravers -- the likes of which I'd seen a couple weeks back at Steve Aoki -- seized on the space and began to weave elaborate streaks of light in time to the music.

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Derek Opperman

Meanwhile, things had begun to grow downstairs. What began as rather sparse gathering had blossomed into a full-bore party, with a crowded dancefloor getting down to the techy sounds of Danny Daze. His set was dark, characterized by the gothy, funky edge honed on his recent single "Your Everything." He created an ecstatic atmosphere punctuated by screams and intense hands-in-the-air moments. A particularly well-received track was an instrumental edit of Kraftwerk's "Computer World", which cast cool washes of Teutonic melody over an already amped crowd. It was around this time when I noticed that some in the audience were wearing glow-in-the-dark crosses. Realizing that this signaled the arrival of New Jersey house DJ Todd Edwards upstairs, I grabbed some friends and made my way back to the loft.

Back upstairs, the energy of the room had shifted gears to match the speed and euphoria of Edwards' set. A dedicated group of dancers worked out on the floor below the stage to a performance that maintained the jubilant bounce of his recent remixes for Kingdom and One Dark Martian. The scene resembled some demented church, with Edwards (sometimes referred to as "Todd the God") playing the role of a futuristic cross-clad preacher. Behind him, an upside-down smiley face cast an omniscient eye over the proceedings while he violently bobbed to the beat and whipped up the crowd.

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Derek Opperman

At around 2 a.m. I checked downstairs again to see if Ewan Pearson, the ultimate headliner, had gone on. Unfortunately he hadn't, and the entire club began a slow process of deflation as time marched mercilessly past last call. Waiting around a little longer, I decided to cut out and follow some friends to an intimate gathering featuring post-party performances by Tim Sweeney and Rebolledo, two DJs who had headlined at Monarch earlier that evening. Doing long sets one after the other, they treated the room of dedicated dancers to a morning of thoughtfully programmed music. Looking back, it was Rebolledo who stole the show for the entire evening by going with the hazy mood of his 4 a.m. slot and playing Pachanga Boys' "Time" in its 15 minute entirety.

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Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Derek Opperman @DerekOpperman, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.

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