The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend

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Todd Edwards Plays at Monarch on Friday.
Can you believe it's almost February? We can't either. Nevertheless, the transition into 2013 is now complete, and San Francisco's nightlife is back in gear. This weekend offers plenty of evidence to support that, with so many good events that a full list was almost required. With forays into bangin' '90s house, sultry Balearica, and cutting-edge techno, we've got you covered. Read on -- your weekend awaits.

5. As You Like It Presents Worst Friends @ Beatbox
Friday, Jan. 25, 10 p.m.-4 a.m.

As You Like It is back this month, and it's ready to take on 2013 with another killer party at Beatbox. This time around it's all about LA/NYC duo Worst Friends, the Wolf + Lamb-affiliated group consisting of AYLI alum Slow Hands and the creatively named Tom Croose. Together they produce a slowed-down and sultry style of music that's well reflected in tracks like "Short Stopped" and "Billiards with a Midget." Live they're a little different, preferring to dip into more uptempo strains of house, but either way their set promises to be a can't-miss good time. Listen to this recent mix recorded at Maresias in Brazil.


4. Lights Down Low presents Todd Edwards @ Monarch
Friday, Jan. 25, 10 p.m.-4 a.m.

About a month or so ago, S.F. party crew Lights Down Low commandeered a warehouse in downtown L.A. and threw a party that's since gone into legend. One of the guests at the helm of that event was New Jersey garage evangelist Todd Edwards, who, as it happens, is headlining the first SF Lights Down Low of 2013. Active since the '90s, Todd "The God" Edwards was instrumental in the transitionary moment between US and UK forms of garage house. As they say on the event page, "Two-step/garage champion. Multi-genre, multi-talented, multiply that by 100. Every time we have seen Todd DJ we have seen the future and then we come back." They're dead-on with that observation, as Edwards has consistently killed it at his past few gigs here. Get a feel for the vibe by listening to Edwards' Boiler Room set and his hyperactive classic "The Dream."


3. The Chase presents Roche and Aria Rostami @ The Lab
Saturday, Jan. 26, 9 p.m.-3 a.m.

With only a few parties under its belt, The Chase is a relative newcomer to the local nightlife topography. That's not a point against it though, as it focuses on throwing quality events with a well-curated blend of visuals and music. This month it pairs contemplative electronic music with the brashness of lo-fi house via its two headlining guests. First up is Aria Rostami, the experimental producer that we profiled last year in our "The 10 Best Bay Area Electronic Records of 2011" feature; since then, he's continued to make weirdly beautiful tracks like his recent remix of Grimes' "Know the Way." As it happens, he'll be joined by Roche (a.k.a. Ben Winans), the local dance music producer featured in our "Top 10 Best Bay Area Electronic Records of 2012." Max has had an intense year, with his dreamy take on house finding a home on L.A.'s 100% Silk and Chicago's Mathematics labels. Listen to "Psycho Zombie Dreams" to hear his latest offering and read our review of one of the party's previous events.


2. Throwback @ Mighty
Saturday, Jan. 26, 9 p.m.-4 a.m.

If you, like us, weren't here for San Francisco's wild and raving '90s, this party is your best shot at capturing a bit of the magic. Throwback pays homage to the city's rich house music heritage, with sets by the some of the biggest names in Bay Area underground dance music on a soundsystem that once used to power New York's hallowed Paradise Garage (literally!). We attended the party's debut a month ago and had our collective minds blown by DJs playing old-school music the way it was meant to be played: with three turntables, a rotary mixer, and stacks upon stacks of crackly vinyl. This one's free all night, and has the added bonus of an open bar between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. So go early, abuse the bar privileges, and dance with the memory of what once was. Check out this page of mixes from David Harness, one of the party's incredibly talented residents.


1. Icee Hot presents Space Dimension Controller and Basic Soul Unit @ Public Works
Saturday, Jan. 26, 10 p.m.-3:30 a.m.

This one shouldn't have been too hard to predict if you read our review of last week's Icee Hot. The forward-thinking local party is in the middle of celebrating its birthday week, and this Saturday's event marks the final installment of what has been one of the longest anniversary celebrations in recent memory. This time it's all about the gritty sound of contemporary techno with, as organizers put it, "TWO artists that have excited and inspired the ICEE imagination for quite some time." First up is Space Dimension Controller, the Northern Ireland producer behind such alien Detroit-inspired soundscapes as "2257 AD" and "Journey to the Core of the Unknown Sphere." Then comes Basic Soul Unit, the Canadian producer whose works on Ostgut Ton and Mathematics have been fueling dancefloors for some time. Listen to his recent XLR8R podcast for an idea of what to expect.

-- @DerekOpperman




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