"Those observations were never supported in the data on changes in last call," Alan says today.
The reality is that partly as a result of those quashed endeavors, the Bay Area underground party scene continues to flourish, via Tribe.net, lists, and those omnipresent flyers. Tomas Palermo — a DJ, Guardian contributor, and former XLR8R editor — thinks the underground warehouse and techno event circuit has been bubbling along nicely since 1988, with surges in house in the early ’90s and explosions in drum ’n' bass during the dot-com years. And even a seasoned listener like him isn't immune to the simple pleasures of an outdoor beatdown: "In the last two weeks I went to a free [breakbeat] sound system gathering in a tiny grassy nook of Golden Gate Park and a Sunset Party in McLaren Park," he e-mails.
The latter gatherings, put on by Pacific Sound System, just may embody the resilient, oh-naturel vibe of the undergrounds in this area. DJ Galen began the daytime Sunset Parties on summer Sundays about a dozen years ago at Golden Gate Park. Old-school — yep. Family oriented — believe it. Ideal if you're still tweaked the morning after — maybe. An outdoor dance floor of up to 3,000 — yikes. "I just feel events are very much the reflection of the people who put them on, and you can kind of tell when people are doing it for money or just the pure feeling of bringing people together through music and the outdoors," says Galen, who co-owns Tweekin Records. When he started the parties, he was a shell of a raver, burned out from lifelong training as a swimmer for the 1996 Olympics. "I hadn't felt like I lived life and came home and some friends took me to a party and just opened my eyes," he recalls, citing the Wicked Crew's Full Moon Raves as inspirational. "Looked at all these people having fun and a sense of community — I just got so excited that this whole other world existed and got immersed in it."
He maxed out his credit card, bought a sound system, and began playing house music in the park as the audience grew. His three-person collective has since produced successful overground boat parties, but they've maintained that earthbound sense of perspective. "I think that's one major reason why things have gone well — we're not out of it for ego," he says. "We are very respectful of everyone, and in turn people are respectful of us. When we leave these parks, they're spotless, and a lot of people have told us, 'Wow, that was a really crazy party, but everyone's so mellow and nice!’ SFBG