The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend
Thursday is here, which means it's time to break out your party gear and start counting the hours 'til the weekend. Actually, never mind. Don't count anything yet, you've still got one more workday to go. But take your mind off that depressing idea by reading this handy guide filled with the promise of inebriated adventures, late-night dancing, and other forms of quasi-wholesome fun. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
Danny Tenaglia plays at Public Works on Friday.
It ended with a cryptic Facebook message. In 2012, Danny Tenaglia, one of the most respected figures in New York dance music, announced that he was hanging up the headphones and retiring from his DJ career of more than 30 years. Considering his reputation and his age, this was understandable. Tenaglia is a tireless globetrotter and marathon spinner whose name is synonymous with sets that have sometimes stretched more than 24 hours. But the Facebook message was never intended to convey a full-on retirement; rather, Tenaglia wanted a hiatus from his touring schedule to collect his mind and recharge before re-entering the fray. Now, two years later, he's back on the decks and headed to Public Works, where he's slated to play for at least four hours.
Tenaglia's return is a good thing for dance music. He's one of those rare cult DJs whose technical acumen is revered -- and deservedly so. Mention his name, and fans will speak of dancefloor conversions and transcendent experiences. "Press Play? Hit Start," a widely circulated article written by Kerri Mason -- a Tenaglia devotee responding to Deadmau5's infamous "We All Hit Play" blog post defending prerecorded sets in EDM -- summed up the general feeling: "Every set was an experience, a journey, a play starring you but not meant for you at all. In five years and well over 200 sets, I never heard him mix the same two records together twice."
Like many of the New York house DJs of his generation, Tenaglia represents a continuation of the expressive, cross-genre narrative style pioneered by Larry Levan in the '80s at the Paradise Garage, the famous underground club that birthed the "garage" house sound. "I went there religiously for about five years," Tenaglia told Australia's Inthemix. "What I learned from Larry was how to make people feel what you're feeling as the DJ, what's transmitting through the speakers -- that's really coming through our souls first." Tenaglia's style embraces this ethos, but unlike his contemporaries, he's continually evolved to incorporate musical styles far afield of the New York underground norm. In the late '90s, he experimented with progressive house sounds and trance, placing deep house records by remixers like Murk and Wild Pitch next to the anthemic serotonin dump of tracks like Tilt and Maria Nayler's "Angry Skies."
Nowadays, he takes similar license, combining big '90s-influenced sounds with mind-expanding techno and slick Ibiza tech-house. It might seem a jumble of styles, and in other DJs' hands it might be, but Tenaglia's extreme mastery of the technical craft behind the art allows him to make sense of it all. This Friday is an opportunity to hear a legend at work -- we recommend you clear your weekend and make a night of it. Listen to his Boiler Room mix to get a better idea of what he's all about.
Com Truise at Mezzanine
9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27. $15-$20
Com Truise doesn't just revisit the past. He runs his memory through a smeared and degraded filter, like an acoustic version of Nam June Paik's impressionistic video art. In more concrete terms, his works, like the recently released Wave 1, are lo-fi reinterpretations of '80s funk and R&B with a contemporary shuffle layered beneath.
Rong Records Showcase with DJ Spun at F8
9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28. $10
Though it's now considered more of a New York thing, Rong Music's spiritual home is still in the Bay Area. DJ Spun, the long-haired rave guru who co-founded the label, came up through the ranks in the early '90s San Francisco underground, mixing tripped-out acid house break-beats with off-the-wall disco. Expect his set this weekend to unfold along similar lines. Listen to this recent mix.
Surface Tension presents Powell & Beau Wanzer at Mercer
10 p.m. Saturday, March 1. $10-$20
It's always good to see new parties thrive in San Francisco. Surface Tension emerged recently, and it's been on a techno-fueled roll ever since. This month, the crew returns to Mercer (formerly Project One) for another night of brutalist avant-garde dance music featuring the abrasive sounds of U.K. outsider techno producer Powell (listen to "Acid") and Chicago synth wizard Beau Wanzer (listen to "Outside Auto").
Play presents John Roberts at The Endup
10 p.m. Saturday, March 1. $15-$20
For a legitimate all-night party experience, The Endup is the only legal game in town. Its music is often all over the place, but not so for Play, which is the club's monthly excursion into deeper strains of house and techno. This time around it features a whole roster of headliners, but the one to watch is John Roberts, a New York house producer whose aesthetic blends precise sound design with rich, melodic atmospheres. Check out his Resident Advisor mix.