The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend
It might officially be fall, but we wont blame you if you go on pretending it's summer for another few weeks. An easy way to do that is to step into the city's nightlife, which seems to be staying just as lively as it was back in July. This time around we've picked some special events -- as well as a few rare ones, like Body & SOUL's return to Mighty -- that you really shouldn't miss. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
Claude Von Stroke plays at the Regency Ballroom on Friday.
It's been a big year for Barclay Crenshaw. He's Claude VonStroke, the head of Dirtybird Records, one of the most successful dance music labels in San Francisco. Under his guidance, the Dirtybird empire has achieved international celebrity off the strength of its party-hearty, bassline-centric house tunes. Over the summer, Crenshaw and the label had the honor of being the season's only American label to hold a residency at a major club on the Spanish party island of Ibiza. Now, he's back in the Bay Area, gearing up for a tour in support of Urban Animal, his latest LP.
The album's name references the life he now leads as a traveling DJ and family man, Crenshaw tells SF Weekly. "It ties directly into my double life as a dad making pancakes for two kids at 7 a.m., and then, possibly, the next time it's 7 a.m., I am in a dark basement playing weird techno for people going mental." He connects his own experience with that of a casual weekend warrior, "people who have desk jobs or [are] building things or delivering things all day -- and then they get that weekend freedom to strip free of social confinements and go crazy on the dancefloor."
With that kind of theme, it's only natural that Urban Animal will be received as a party record. There are bits of Crenshaw's signature all over it, particularly in the playful minimalism of lead single "Can't Wait." But the album also has experimental moments, occasionally stepping away from the four-to-the-floor dance cuts for which Dirtybird is best known. Urban Animal sees Crenshaw lacing his sound with complex rhythms pulled from more out-there scenes like bass, trap, and experimental hip-hop. "There are a lot of influences on the record, from Prince to DJ Krust to Art of Noise," Crenshaw says. "I'm loving the newer generation of fans who aren't so wrapped up in the micro-niches and worried that people will not like them if every track doesn't have a kick drum every downbeat."
Talking with Crenshaw, one gets the feeling that his love of the next generation of EDM ravers is totally genuine. Though his sound is a ways away from the bombast of the mainstream, he feels as though his music and label might represent a next step in the maturing process of the new wave. "Once a kid has immersed themselves in dance music and has dug past those first couple of commercial layers, we are there waiting for them with open arms," he says. And if you happen to be one of those young fans, then you'll have a good opportunity to see Crenshaw this week, when he plays an all-ages show at the Regency Ballroom. Listen to this mix, recorded live at this year's Hard Summer festival in Los Angeles.
Body & SOUL at Mighty
10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. $25
It's good news when legendary New York house and disco DJs François K, Danny Krivit, and Joe Claussell get together. As Body & SOUL, they play as a tag-teaming trio, stretching through underground disco, spiritual house, Afrobeat, and even classics like Stevie Wonder's "As," to create something that we proclaimed "the best party ever" in a review earlier this year. Check out this video of the trio playing in France.
Haceteria presents Black Jeans at Slate Bar
10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. $5
There's no better place to catch the hardware-centric new wave of dance music than at Mission standby Haçeteria. This month the party shines its spotlight on Black Jeans, an Oakland-based producer whose dark sounds mingle the approachable rhythm of house with the hypnotic delays of dub-techno and the jagged aesthetics of gothy '80s minimal wave. Listen to "TapeAcid" for a better idea of what that means.
Play presents Adriatique at The EndUp
10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. $15-$20
The EndUp might have an unseemly reputation, but on at least one night out of the month it's worth braving the ominous exterior. The party is called Play, and it uses the space's unique, always-open license to offer the Bay Area's closest approximation of a European-style clubbing experience, with a tasteful soundtrack of deep house and techno provided by acts like this month's Zurich-based headliners, Adriatique. Listen to this mix the duo recently recorded at Watergate in Berlin.
Push the Feeling presents Octo Octa at Underground SF
10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. $5-$10
The problem with "outsider house" is that many of its so-called practitioners aren't outsiders anymore. One is New York-based producer Octo Octa, who's risen above the term, and into the world's biggest clubs, with Between Two Selves, his homage to oceanically deep house music disguised as a sophomore LP. Listen to "Come Closer."