The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend
At the risk of sounding like a weatherman, this past week has been a great time to be in San Francisco. The sun is out, it's T-shirt temperature, and even the Avenues are temporarily fog-less. Count your blessings (or crank out a ritual sacrifice to the sun gods), because it looks like our miniature summer will be continuing for at least the next few days. What does that mean in party terms? It means you ought to get off your ass and dance! We recommend you enjoy yourself at the following events, with a few appropriately celebratory parties counterbalanced by some darker picks for all you gothy types. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
Mr. Oizo plays at 1015 Folsom on Friday.
You don't hear much about absurdist dance music anymore. Chalk it up to shifting tastes, perhaps, but the present moment is dominated by more serious strains. Enter Quentin Dupieux, a music producer who has long stood as one of the field's most surreal artists. He records as Mr. Oizo (pronounced "wah-zoh"), and came to prominence in the late '90s for his weird take on French house music, which found a humorous, Dada-like middle ground between the abrasion of early Daft Punk and the disco riffing of French acts like Alan Braxe and Fred Falke.
To understand the weirdness of Dupieux, you have to look at his larger work as an artist. He's also a movie director, one whose films are full of non sequiturs. His two most recent pictures are a thriller about a homicidal self-aware tire (Rubber) and a drama about a man in denial who goes in search of his lost dog when a palm tree in his backyard becomes a pine tree (Wrong). Dupieux's films never follow a conventional Hollywood structure, instead utilizing the scattered absurdity of surrealism. His plots rarely resolve neatly, seeming scripted to intentionally confuse. "I think there's a lot of space that we can explore, instead of always working on the same structure. I think there's a lot of space for different visions," he told Slashfilm. "From my point of view, real life doesn't make sense. Every day you experience stuff that is not necessarily perfectly scripted. That's what I'm trying to do, basically. I'm trying to bring some organic elements [into my work]."
That mentality applies to his music as well. His earliest works -- like "Flat Beat," his 1999 dancefloor hit -- are characterized by their use of stuttering disco samples and a wobbly bassline best described as "farty." The way he arranges his music is jarring, often throwing in sampled basslines or stabs that appear once or twice and then never return. Lyrically speaking, he incorporates weird, glitched-out spoken word parts, which often say things that seem counterintuitive to the demands of a dancefloor. For instance, Amicalement, his latest EP, features a track called "Solid" that includes the voice of Marilyn Manson stating, "Y-y-y-y-ou look like shit ... when you dance."
Thankfully, his DJ sets tend to follow a more conventional style, incorporating Dupieux's absurdist flair while maintaining a high-energy atmosphere filled with bright French electro and disco house. That said, there's no telling what kind of curveballs he might throw when he headlines 1015 Folsom this Friday.
Hidden Measure 1 Year Anniversary with Gary Beck at F8
9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, $12-$25
Recent years have seen techno enjoy a newfound popularity in the Bay Area. That's partly due to the efforts of Hidden Measure, a party at F8 that showcases the genre's rising talents. This week, the party brings out Glaswegian producer Gary Beck, whose epic cuts, like underground anthem "Video Siren," make him the perfect selector to kick off the event's first anniversary.
Modular presents Stephan Bodzin at Public Works
9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, $15-$20
For a sound that many people deem minimal, Stephan Bodzin's music is incredibly complex. He's a German producer who came to prominence in the mid-'00s by applying a deeply melodic sensibility to the rhythms of techno (listen to his classic cut, "Liebe Ist..." The result is an aesthetic that's trippy in all the right ways -- in other words, the exact thing you want to be hearing in Public Works at 3 a.m.
Warm Leatherette presents Profligate at Sub-Mission
10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, $5
This Saturday marks a bittersweet goodbye in the form of Warm Leatherette's final party at Sub-Mission. To celebrate, it's flying out Profligate, a producer from Philadelphia who creates a new kind of gothic dance music that's a perfect match for the club's red-lit, fog-shrouded environment. (Next month, the party's promoters will reconvene at Project One for a new techno-focused venture called Surface Tension.) Listen to Profligate's "From All Sides."
Play it Cool presents Lovefingers at Balançoire
9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 $5
It's no secret: Disco is back, though maybe not as you remember it. Hear the DJ sets of Lovefingers, a selector from Los Angeles who's spent the past 10 years honing a sound that mixes party hearty four-to-the-floor fun with spaced-out psychedelia (listen to this live mix, recorded live at A Club Called Rhonda in Los Angeles). Also, I'm one of the DJs throwing this party, in case that counts for anything.