The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend

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Delroy Edwards plays Icee Hot on Saturday
The burners are gone, the bridge is closed, and BART is running 'round the clock. Understandably, it's a good weekend for partying. The duration of Burning Man is often thought of by locals as one of the best week's of the year. And, to help you make sense of all the nightlife going on, we've emerged with this handy list. Spoiler alert: there's free beer involved. Read on -- your weekend awaits.

Icee Hot with Delroy Edwards, John Roberts, Ghosts on Tape, and Shawn Reynaldo at Public Works
9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31. $5-$10

You can't beat free beer: That seems to be the logic behind Icee Hot's party at Public Works this Saturday. With the help of Japanese brewing company Sapporo, the cutting-edge crew will take over the club's main room to offer a night of bottomless lager to complement its usual fare of globe-trotting DJs and forward-thinking music. And, as far as we can tell, there really isn't a catch (well, besides the inevitable hangover).

Along with the beer, the party has a few other things going for it as well. Chief among them is the S.F. debut of Los Angeles DJ Delroy Edwards. Edwards is a rising star in the world of dance music, a producer who came to prominence last year with a string of noisy yet extremely well-received EPs for New York's trendy L.I.E.S. imprint. His three-track record, 4 Club Use Only, managed to capture the essence of that label and proclaim a bold new direction for America's house music underground. His music is raw, with an aesthetic sensibility rooted in the stripped-down and abrasive "ghetto house" sound that emerged from Chicago in the early '90s on cult labels like Dance Mania, Warehouse, and Muzique. But while his music draws from the past, it somehow sounds fresh in 2013. His edges are dirtier, giving his tracks the feeling that they're aimed squarely at the modern dancefloor. Live, he's a killer DJ, with hyperactive vinyl-heavy sets that contrast his old-school Windy City influences with more contemporary fare. His tracks hit hard like techno, but move at the slower tempo of house. Check out his Boiler Room set.

If that sounds intense, not to worry: The party will balance out the harshness of Edwards' music with a live performance by New York-based deep house purveyor John Roberts. Though he's based in the United States, his sound is actually more aligned with the dubby and atmospheric house music currently en vogue in Germany. That's reflected in his choice of labels -- so far he's released a vast majority of his work (like his excellent recently released Fences LP) on Dial, a major underground imprint out of Hamburg. Contrasted with Edwards, his stuff is polished clean and characterized by lush jazz chords, extreme reverb, and clever use of melodic samples. The live set ought to illustrate these qualities: He'll perform his works on-the-fly, with a minimalist laptop setup that blew minds last month at Montreal's Mutek festival.

But of course all this music talk is beside the point when there's free beer at stake. Which, we should add, is only offered to those who RSVP on the group's Facebook page.


The Chase with White Car and Vereker at Public Works
10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30. $5-$10

Many parties in San Francisco lack atmosphere. Not so with the Chase, which transforms Public Works' OddJob Loft into a video-drenched immersive media space complete with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling projections to match its cutting-edge soundtrack. This month's event features a live performance by '80s house-indebted producer White Car and a DJ set by the dark L.I.E.S.-affiliated local noisemaker Vereker.


Paul Van Dyk at 1015 Folsom
9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30. $50

"No E, just pure PvD" read the shirts back in the late '90s, when Paul van Dyk was considered one of the world's premiere trance DJs. Today he's still as much of a superstar, but his sound has moved away from his old baroque euphoria toward poppy, contemporary EDM (as can be heard on his recent smash, "We Are One Anthem 2013 feat. Arnej"). He's a long-form DJ if there ever was one, which is why the club has announced it'll stay open until 6 a.m.


Sweaterfunk featuring Psychic Mirrors at Elbo Room
10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31. $8-$15

It's smooth, it's soulful, and its funky: it's Sweaterfunk, the city's best party dedicated to rare '80s R&B. Normally on Sundays, this month it returns to the Elbo Room for a special Saturday edition with a live performance by Psychic Mirrors -- a 12-piece jazz-funk group out of Miami whose music sounds like it'd be best heard played loud while cruising South Beach in a Ferrari Testarossa. Don't believe us? Just listen to "The Witching Hour," and you'll understand.

Stompy + Sunset present Terry Francis at Cafe Cocomo
2 p.m. Sunday, Sep. 1. $10-$20

It's always a shame when the city loses a club to condo developers. That's unfortunately what's happening at Cafe Cocomo, which is why you ought to once again make the trek this Sunday to catch Sunset and Stompy's final party there, this time featuring hard-hitting London tech-house producer Terry Francis. Check outthis recent mix recorded live in Poland.

-- @DerekOpperman




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