The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend
It's hard to think of a holiday that inspires more fear and loathing than Valentine's Day. Hopefully you have something planned, but if not, don't worry: We've got just the thing to help you pass the time. As usual, we've assembled this handy list of parties we think would be good for a night on the town with a sweetheart (or meeting a new one). Read on -- your weekend awaits.
Xosar plays at Monarch on Saturday.
After departing San Francisco in 2011, Sheela Rahman has gone on to become a
vital presence in the global dance music community. Now based in Berlin, and better known as Xosar, she debuted in 2012 with Tropical Cruize, a release on New York's noise-indebted L.I.E.S. imprint. Though its name suggests sunny climates and breezy atmospheres, Xosar's three-track EP displayed a personal interpretation of house music imbued with a tangible sense of human emotion. Her subsequent releases have followed in a similar vein. This might not seem like a particularly special characteristic -- after all, music tends to evoke emotion -- but it is when you consider that the desire to please dancefloors often gets in the way of purer artistic or human intentions.
"This has been a potent topic brooding in my mind," Rahman says over Skype. "I love having that initial raw primalness of sound, but how much of that lo-fi, raw feeling do you need to sacrifice to create something that people will enjoy? I'm trying to inject as much of my soul and my feelings into the music with as little editing or sugarcoating as possible." So far, this is a balancing act that she's managed to pull off, though her material tends to appeal to more adventurous DJs, like Berghain resident Norman Nodge, who used her washed-out and contemplative "Rainy Day Juno Jam (Legowelt Remix)" as the closer on his Berghain 06 mix CD.
Xosar's music unfolds spontaneously and unhurriedly, in a way that suggests live playing. That's a reflection of her passion for hardware sequencers: She has a collection of 15 Korg Electribe drum machines, which she prefers to use along with software programs like Ableton Live. "It's great, there's so much you can do, but for the ADD mind of the modern man, [Ableton] can be difficult to use," she says.
"The Electribe is great because it forces you into a workflow. It only holds 30 samples, so they have to be your favorites. It's streamlined." She also uses these for her live performances, which mimic the logic of a DJ set. Using three Electribes, she's able to improvise on the fly and navigate through the majority of her discography. "Like a DJ has a record bag, I have a huge song selection -- all I have to do is remember where the patterns are stored and have an idea of how to transition in a smooth way. I can feel the vibe in the room -- if it's not liking this happy upbeat house music, I can bring it to a brooding techno Berghain vibe."
Her live performances are composed solely of her original productions, which means Monarch ought to be in for a full dose of feeling when Xosar headlines No Way Back this Saturday, alongside a live set from kindred spirit Legowelt and DJ support from local heroes Conor and Solar.
As You Like It Valentine's Day Party with Slow Hands and Worst Friends at Beatbox
10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14. $10-$20
For a true lover's vibe, it's hard to beat Slow Hands. He's a New York based DJ and producer who trades in a delicate, slowed-down disco sound that plays like an electronic version of the Isley Brothers' "Between the Sheets." He graces this year's As You Like It Valentine's Day with a DJ set (alongside Tom Croose as duo "Worst Friends") and a live performance. Expect hardware and romance, as can be heard on this DJ mix from Worst Friends, recorded live at AYLI last year.
Green Gorilla Lounge presents Tim Sweeney at Monarch
9:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14. $8-$15
Tim Sweeney is a man behind a microphone. He's the likable host of Beats in Space, a long-running and highly influential program on New York City's WNYU radio station that focuses on contemporary underground house and disco sounds. Though he's often interviewing DJs, he's also an accomplished selector himself, with a style that reflects the eclecticism of his show (and the record label that shares its name). Check out his Boiler Room mix.
Icee Hot presents John Talabot and Galcher Lustwerk at Public Works
10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15. $5-$15
Good things often come in pairs -- that seems to be the assumption at Icee Hot this weekend. First up is John Talabot, a Barcelona producer whose style adds a sunny and pop-like accessibility to varying strains of tripped-out house and minimal techno (listen to his recent mix from the Button Factory in Dublin). Joining him is Galcher Lustwerk, a rising Brooklyn DJ on the hyped White Material label, who makes deep, chunky old-school New York house beats, and then loosely freestyles over them. Listen to his groundbreaking 100% Galcher mix.
It's hard to imagine San Francisco without Honey Soundsystem. For the past few years, the DJ collective has single-handedly carried the torch of the city's storied gay dance music heritage into the present, with a party aesthetic that blends the attention to detail of the discotheque years with a soundtrack that's five years ahead of everyone else. This Sunday the party takes over Beatbox for a late-night, residents-only affair.