The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend
In case you were unaware, this weekend marks the passage of Mardi Gras in San Francisco. Always something of an outsider holiday here, its presence doesn't seem to excite the same kind of passions as it does in some other cities. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate -- just maybe leave the beads at home and lay off the king cake. To help you get into the spirit of things, we've picked out five parties that are now rapidly approaching. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
Big Freedia plays at Mezzanine this Friday.
The past two years have offered innumerable opportunities to see big-name travelling DJs in this city. While this is certainly welcome, it shouldn't come at the expense of San Francisco's own pool of selectors, many of whom are unsung technical masters. Jacked! is a new party at F8 that gathers together some of the city's best house and techno players -- such as Jason Kendig, Nikola Baytala, and Tyrel Williams -- and lets them loose for an all-vinyl evening that's about a love of music and a dedication to the craft. And, since it's a bunch of locals, it's also a pretty cheap option, with a cover that stays at $5 all-night. Get in the mood by listening to Kendig's recently released "Wintermix."
Few people have had as indelible impact on the recent history of dance music in San Francisco as Garth. One of a handful of young British DJs to migrate here in the early '90s, he brought with him a passion for acid house that would result in the formation of the legendary Wicked Soundsystem rave crew. As the head of Greyhound records, he helped to create a dubbed-out and trippy variant of house best heard on his classic "Twenty Minutes of Disco Glory." This Saturday he'll be stepping into the booth at the Public Works Odd Job Loft for a five-hour journey through his extensive record collection. Check out this classic "Live at Come-Unity" mix for an idea of how the night might pan out.
3. Lights Down Low with Daniel Avery and Physical Therapy @ Public Works
Thursday, Feb. 7, 10 p.m.-3 a.m.
This week is proving to be one of the biggest in recent memory for local party crew Lights Down Low, so much so that the normally weekend-centric outfit is occupying a rare Thursday evening. The excitement is over a dual-headliner booking featuring two of dance music's in-demand rising stars. The first is Daniel Avery, the Fabric resident who just last year began his production career with no fewer than seven EPs and a mix for FabricLive. His sound is rooted in a UK spin on house that can best be heard in dancefloor anthems like "Light Into Dark" and "Taste (Special Request Mix)." Joining him for the evening is Physical Therapy, the self-proclaimed " future face of 3-step, dream house, and drum n' space." If that sounds intriguing, we suggest you check out his masterfully done website for further insight into his sometimes bizarre creative vision.
For the past two years it's been hard to ignore the impact of LA label 100% Silk. Helmed by Amanda Brown, it's injected an outsider DIY approach that scrambles up the rhythms and samples of dance music into something entirely new. The label has a strong presence in San Francisco, with a whole scene of upstart producers working to push the boundaries of this sound in wild new directions. This Friday sees the label take over Push the Feeling at Underground SF for a night of weirdness and fun. Headlining the whole thing is Brown's group LA Vampires, which you can get a feel for by listening to "Streetwise." Also on deck is local Roche, whose debut 100% Silk single "A Night at the Haç" was profiled in our "The 10 Best Bay Area Records of 2012" feature.
1. Big Freedia & Mike Q @ Mezzanine
Friday, Feb. 8, 9 p.m.-3 a.m.
Simply put, if you've ever seen either of the acts on this bill you know this one's going to be good. Lights Down Low describes Big Freedia as "the undisputed "Queen Diva" of Bounce Music and the leading assologist in the world." For the past two years she's been crisscrossing the country, leading high-energy ass shaking competitions with her unique take on the sound of NOLA bounce -- best heard on songs like "Azz Everywhere" and "Excuse." She comes with quite a reputation, which you can learn more about by watching this fascinating 30 minute documentary about her and the New Orleans scene. Also on the bill is MikeQ, the New Jersey DJ whose explosive sets (which we've covered here and here) draw heavily on his background as a vogue spinner working in the East Coast ballroom scene. Check out his Fact mix for an hour-long musical explanation of what he's all about.