The Top Five Parties in San Francisco this Weekend
The arrival of Treasure Island Music Festival means the next few days are going to be pretty heavy as far as nightlife is concerned. As usual, we've got you covered with a carefully curated list of top picks, including one late addition that didn't make our print deadline. So read on -- your weekend awaits.
Honey Soundsystem ends its weekly residency at the Holy Cow this Sunday.
The aforementioned new party is the inaugural local broadcast of DJ-focused internet TV show Boiler Room. We mentioned it in a blog post last week, but what we didn't know at the time is that it'll also feature performances by Detroit techno native son Kyle Hall, London acid house spinner Funkineven, L.A. boogie revivalist Dâm Funk, Brainfeeder-associated leftfield beatmaker Ras G, Washington DC nu-disco DJ Maximillion Dunbar, bass duo Inc., and local techno hero Matrixxman. If that sounds like a lot to take in, that's because it is. Trust us, you don't want to miss it. RSVP here to find out the location.
Honey Soundsystem at Holy Cow
9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. $10
For the past seven years, much of the forward momentum in San Francisco nightlife has come from Honey Soundsystem, a queer DJ collective comprised of DJ Pee Play (Jacob Sperber), Josh Cheon, Robot Hustle (Robert Yang), and Jason Kendig. Its strength has been most evident at Honey's weekly Sunday night residency at the Holy Cow, which many consider to be the best party in the city, offering a stylized atmosphere, familial vibe, and a top-notch soundtrack courtesy of some of the most respected underground house and techno DJs in the world. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and this Sunday marks the weekly's final installment before the Honey crew relaxes into a more sporadic and less venue-specific schedule.
Oct. 20 is a fitting date to end the party. This weekend marks what would have been the 63rd birthday of Patrick Cowley, the San Francisco hi-NRG pioneer whose work in the late '70s and early '80s (notably with Sylvester on "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)") made him one of the city's most celebrated dance music icons. Though Cowley died in 1982, Honey Soundsystem has long made it a tradition to honor his legacy with decked-out parties -- last year, New York disco selector Daniel Wang flew out to guest DJ a Holy Cow decorated to feel like an immersive Cowley album cover -- as well as reissues of his out-of-print material.
In 2009, Honey re-pressed Catholic, an LP of post-punk from Cowley's pre-disco days. This Sunday, the party's going out with a bang by using its HNYTRX label to offer School Daze, a double LP-worth of obscure Cowley-scored gay porno music featuring esoteric names like "Pagan Rhythms," "Seven Sacred Pools," and "Zygote." For Cowley fans, it's a revelation, showing the producer at his most abstract and psychedelic peak, with melancholic synthetic soundscapes that feel like a meditative extension of his more well-known dancefloor-oriented workouts like "Menergy," or his trance-inducing 17-minute remix of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love."
Considering the profile of Honey Soundsystem, and the fact the Cowley record is its biggest release yet, you can expect something special this weekend. But what exactly that will be is under wraps. We'll guess that there will be a whole lot of Cowley classics, some serious goodbyes, and some of the best party decor in San Francisco. And since it's Honey's last stand at the Holy Cow, the club has secured a temporary after-hours license, meaning you'll be able to keep the feeling going, one last time, until 4 a.m.
Face and Public Works present DJ Harvey at Public Works
9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18. $10-$15
DJ Harvey isn't just another disc jockey, he's a cult figure with an obsessed following. Part of that is due to his clandestine warehouse disco parties in L.A., where he cues a ravey, nine-hour soundtrack of rare disco and house. He might not be able to play that long in a legal club, but even the condensed version will make a true believer of anybody. Read this interview (from this week's print edition of SF Weekly) and then listen to these two mixes: his totally bananas Resident Advisor podcast and this classic BBC Essential Mix from 1994.
Fred Falke at Mezzanine
9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18. $15-$20
In the late '90s, a new sound from France briefly took over the world. It was called French touch, and it offered a playfully Gallic, disco-indebted spin on house music. One of its premier practitioners is Fred Falke, a producer famous for his extremely clever sampling chops and funk-filled DJ sets. Listen to "Intro" and this Gotta Dance Dirty Mix.
Radiohead vs Daft Punk at Monarch
9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17. $5-$10
Are you a fan of both Radiohead and Daft Punk? Then you're in luck, as Monarch has put together a new night that pits the two groups against each other, with DJs playing deep cuts and classics by both. Motion Potion kicks the night off with a warm-up set of Radiohead, followed by a ton of Daft Punk courtesy of Matt Haze from 11:30 p.m. on.
Saturday Night Soul Party at Elbo Room
10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. $5-$10
Electronic dance music is popular, but it's not the only kind of dance music out there. San Francisco also has a thriving '60s soul scene that's built around dive-bar parties filled with sweaty dancers in period-accurate attire. Saturday Night Soul Party is one of these events, and though its 7-inch soul grooves might seem esoteric, it's all about having an old-fashioned good time. Watch this promotional video to get a good idea of what you'd be in for.