Lost in the Night: There's More than Soul at Motown on Mondays

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Motown on Mondays
Madrone Art Bar
Monday, Feb. 18 2014

"Bottle service clubs used to be about finesse -- there used to be some skill there, like, how many songs you could fit into a given set or how well you could rock a party. Now it's all about Traktor controllers and EDM," said a DJ friend over complementary scotches at a party in the cafeteria at GitHub headquarters downtown. I listened to the music on the room's Funktion-One sound system and considered my free whiskey -- Arran 12 Year Old Cask Strength -- as my friend continued to explain some recent developments in the more extravagant side of the city's club culture.

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The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend

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Axel Boman plays at Public Works on Friday.
Check your watch, it's almost time. Yes, you guessed right, it's Thursday, which means the weekend is on the horizon, singing a siren song imbued with the promise of adventures, parties, and good spirits. To help you get in the mood, we've blocked out this handy guide to all the fun. Cast off your day-to-day identity and get lost in the nightlife. Read on -- your weekend awaits.


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How to Judge a DJ Set, With Mike Servito, Bobby Browser, and the Surface Tension Residents

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Surface Tension Residents Night // Mike Servito, Bobby Browser
Project One // An Underground
Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014

"I'd really like to start a band called Fascist Polyrhythms. It'd be like a brooding white guy version of Fela Kuti," said a friend in idle conversation while a DJ pushed through an extended blend between two dub-techno records. We were at Project One, waiting for another to arrive so that we could make the trek across the bridge to the East Bay for an underground. In the meantime, we were taking in Surface Tension, a new party that focuses on the darker side of dance music, with a soundtrack that fuses gothy '80s minimal synth cuts and booming German techno.


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The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend

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Loose Shus plays at Underground SF on Saturday.
Haven't you heard? California is headed for a drought. We recommend you do your part and switch over to liquor instead -- er, well, maybe throw a mixer in there for hydration or something. Ninety-five percent of the population agrees: consuming alcohol is much more socially acceptable in the company of others. So help us all and put the tap water down in favor of a few cocktails at the following events, which trade in quality techno, cosmic boogie, and spliffed-out hip-hop. Read on -- your weekend awaits.


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Benoit & Sergio Don't Bring the Hits (But Do Bring a Purple Dashiki) to Monarch

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SF Weekly
Lights Down Low presents Benoit & Sergio
Monarch
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014

About a year ago, a promoter friend of mine made a very astute observation: "If we're paying some artist, like, $5,000, you better believe I expect them to play the hits that they're known for." Granted, he was kind of on one at the time, but those words have remained with me ever since. To be honest, though, I never really understood what he meant until recently; most DJs and producers working at the international level operate from a standpoint of consistency and crowd-pleasing (unless they're known for being erratic, in which case, well, that's their thing ). Never have his comments been more in my mind than they were Saturday at Monarch, while I listened to a set by Washington D.C./Berlin tech-house duo Benoit & Sergio.


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Icee Hot Celebrates Four Years in Style with Levon Vincent, Joey Anderson, and Floating Points

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SF Weekly
Icee Hot Four-Year Anniversary with Levon Vincent, Joey Anderson, and Floating Points
Public Works
Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014

There are many different kinds of parties in San Francisco, but few match the eclecticism of Icee Hot. The event has grown from its bass-heavy beginnings in the basement of 222 Hyde to encompass a range of music whose only boundary seems to be good taste. Last Saturday marked the passing of its fourth anniversary, and, true to form, organizers celebrated by assembling one of its most ambitious and all-encompassing line-ups to date, utilizing both rooms at Public Works for maximum effect. Shortly before arriving, I received a barrage of texts, "Upstairs is awesome. Floating Points just started. Packed. Jazzy piano house. This guy is playing jazz ... now he's playing northern soul 7-inches."


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Exploring Polysexual Partying With Kim Ann Foxman at Isis

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SF Weekly
Isis presents Kim Ann Foxman, Avalon Emerson, Brittany B, and Hi, Today
Public Works OddJob Loft
Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014

From an outsider's perspective, San Francisco party Isis appears to draw quite a few cues from A Club Called Rhonda in Los Angeles. The two parties employ very similar ideas: they both anthropomorphize their club with a persona (Rhonda is a bitchy Amanda Lepore-ish arch-deacon of club kids; Isis is a demanding-yet-playful goddess); they both use slick, bold-lined flyer imagery vaguely evocative of '80s New York club life; and they both feature a shared core ethos of "polysexual" partying. Yet this is about where the comparisons cease, as beyond the surface-level similarities, the two are as different as the cities they reside in. And in much the same way that the Rhonda experience pulls heavily from the flash and glamour of Los Angeles, Isis parties lean hard on the communal spirit and sexual diversity at the heart of San Francisco.


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Disco Gets Revenge at Go Bang!; Jason Kendig and Jackie House Take on the Endup

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SF Weekly
Go Bang! with Michael Serafini // Play: Locals Edition featuring Jason Kendig and Jackie House
The Stud // The Endup
Saturday, Jan. 4, 2013

The "D-word." For a long time, disco was a taboo subject. As a popular phenomenon, it's still used as a touchstone for the musical (and general) excess of the 1970s. But at a deeper level, the genre at the root of modern dance music carries some somber baggage: it was the soundtrack to a free and exuberant decade in gay American life that was cut tragically short by the ravages of AIDS. San Francisco was hit particularly hard, which is partly why the sound fell out of favor in the late '80s and '90s: The memories and wounds were just too fresh. It was easier to forget and go underground than try to relive any aspects of that moment. Yet all things move in cycles, and for the past few years disco has enjoyed a renewed presence in San Francisco. Last Saturday I began my night at Go Bang!, a party that peddles the real thing -- there were no polyester pants, light-up dance floors, or John Travolta-inspired finger-pointers.


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Housepitality Reminds Us What Underground Parties Can Do (and Legal Ones Can't)

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SF Weekly

Housepitality with Tyrel Williams, Miguel Solari, Bo, and Secret Guests
Underground Location
Saturday, Dec. 21 2013

It was just after 3 a.m. on Friday when my phone buzzed. "Hey, we got here like right before the DJ went on. I can't believe how SF ends at like 2 ... everyone was already stumbling around by then, like whaaaat?" My sister, who'd never spent much time in San Francisco, was in town from New York, and she'd just run up against a brick wall of Bay Area reality at DNA Lounge. "This is definitely a very different scene than NYC, it's like fucking prohibition. JESUS, why does SF go to sleep so early?" Of course, she had a point, California's early last call is a real problem. That hard boozy deadline of 2 a.m. is responsible for a lot of bad vibes and premature ends. However, that same cutoff is also the root of the vibrance behind San Francisco's network of undergrounds (which, now that I think about it, is very reminiscent of prohibition). And the next night, just to prove her wrong, I decided to head out at 2 a.m. to attend Housepitality's latest below-the-radar offering.

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Juan Maclean Vastly Improves the Vibe at Audio Discotech

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SF Weekly
La Boîte and Uni4rm present Juan Maclean
Audio Discotech
Friday, Dec. 13, 2013

Our Uber turned onto 11th Street, angling towards Folsom from Market. I was rambling about something to my friends in the car when someone interrupted me and pointed out the window, "Holy shit, is that Juan Maclean?" It was about 11:30 p.m., we'd just crossed Howard, and John "Juan" Maclean, the DJ we'd come to see, was hauling ass across the sidewalk, pushing bumbling crowds of pedestrians aside in a mad dash towards Audio Discotech, the club he'd presumably be headlining in 30 minutes. If you didn't recognize him, you probably would have assumed he'd just robbed a gas station.


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