Lost in the Night: Galaxy Radio Is a Good Fit at the Knockout, Audio Discotech Brings Cielo to San Francisco, and More

Kahley Avalon Emerson
Galaxy Radio // Audio Discotech Soft Opening // Harlot presents Gene Farris & DJ Pierre
Knockout // Audio Discotech // Harlot
Saturday, Aug. 11, 2013

it wasn't supposed to be a long night out, but somehow it became one. We started at the Knockout, mingling beneath the flashing disco lights while Galaxy Radio's cohort of DJs dropped obscure Italian disco cuts from the stage in the back. At the bar ordering drinks, we took in the club's decorations -- namely a large poster of Giorgio Moroder on one of the walls. An immensely pitched-down version of Gary Low's "I Want You" provided a slo-mo soundtrack to our conversation as people on the floor slipped into a grind. The song transitioned into Chemise's "She Can't Love You," and somewhere behind me I heard a girl ask her friend, "Who's that guy on the wall?" "Yeah, I think that's the guy from Daft Punk?"

Kahley Avalon Emerson

The Knockout is an ideal location for Galaxy Radio. The party is a familial kind of affair that's is a good fit for the bar's divey ambiance and built-in crowd of party-hardy Missionites. We spent some time on the dancefloor, which was illuminated occasionally by shifting dots of laser. The Pointer Sisters' "Automatic" came on and the room got rowdy. I looked up at the stage to see the DJ and noticed something unusual: Unlike many parties, Galaxy Radio is helmed by a whole group of DJs who play together. The night never felt like it was being controlled by any one person, but instead by a group of friends who were there to show off and play their favorite records. This detail might seem small, but it went a long way toward giving the night a comfortable, house-party feeling.

Kahley Avalon Emerson

Then we were across town at DNA Pizza, grabbing a slice amidst the chaos of Bootie at DNA Lounge next door. Our plan had been to traverse a path towards Audio Discotech, the newest venue to open on the 11th Street corridor. We grabbed our slices and headed to a door just next to Beatbox, walking through tons of wrecked people trying to sort out their night. At the door, a tall woman in a fedora holding an iPad gave my friends and I a sidelong glance. "What are you here for?" I dropped a name and she looked at my friend, "Well, okay, but you'll have to check your hoodie in the coat check."

Kahley Avalon Emerson

Audio Discotech has a unique layout for a San Francisco club. The main dancefloor is up on the second floor of the building that used to house Mist. Walk up the stairwell, open the door, and you're swept away into a scene straight out of New York's Meatpacking District (for better or worse). The club's interior design is a dead-ringer for Cielo, with a recessed dancefloor in the middle surrounded on all four corners by an impressively loud Funktion-One soundsystem. It even manages to approach the low-end boom of that New York institution. The decor is top-notch, with the eye drawn towards an old-school discotheque-style infinity mirror positioned behind the DJ booth. The lighting is tasteful, with two skylights in the middle flashing different colors and occasionally lighting up the room as though someone had accidentally flipped a switch (I mean that in the best way possible).

Kahley Avalon Emerson

But while a Cielo in San Francisco sounds good on paper (or at least it does to me), there were some downsides. My companions and I likened the overall vibe and "sleazy creeper" quotient as being similar to "the Endup on a bad night." Ditto to the music, which was pretty bland across the board, staying close to the tried-and-true, all-in-the-red, riser-led tech-house that many of the city's bottle-service clubs have now gravitated toward. It's hard to tell if this is due to the newness of the space, the club's bottle-centric approach, or its location on 11th Street (or all three), but whatever the reason, it can't change the fact that the architecture and soundsystem are both excellent -- hopefully it manages to get a sound and crowd in there that can do the setup justice.

Kahley Avalon Emerson

We left about as fast as we arrived, just long enough to get one drink. We ended up at Driftwood in SOMA for a few more cocktails while trying to work out where to go next. We decided to end the night at Harlot for a last-minute dance courtesy of Chicago heavyweights Gene Farris and DJ Pierre. We grabbed a cab and crossed the city. Our car drove down Minna and parked in front, where a blond girl in skimpy tube dress was fighting off a clearly wasted varsity-jacketed dude in the alley. Security intervened. We stepped in and danced to tracks like St. Germain's "Rose Rouge" and a few others before realizing we'd been out way too long.

-- @DerekOpperman

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