Plucky 15

Tribal Funk celebrates what raves used to be, back when we still called 'em that
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superego@sfbg.com

SUPER EGO When, oh, when, will someone acknowledge properly that Kinko's was responsible for rave — at least the good rave? So many legendary early 1990s parties sprang from adorable Apple IIe addicts frantically photocopying the two-toned fruits of stoned flyer-making labors at 3 a.m. onto Lift-Off Lemon and good ol' Lunar Blue. We grateful ex-ravers, despite ongoing nerve damage, should really erect a mimeo-monument to that generic copyhouse — a mass of leftover smiley-face baggies and filthy chill-out room inflatables, perhaps, fashioned in the shape of a poor, perplexed clerk?

I'm chortling over the phone about this with Flash, the guiding light and graphic design arm of the Tribal Funk party production crew, formed 15 years ago by South City teen Keith Neves with just such a rush-job handout. "Keith was really sick of the rave scene's slickness and commercialism back then, so he passed out a handmade flyer saying, 'Meet at my house and let's see if we can do it right. Get it back on track. Do it for less,'" Flash explains. A couple dozen people showed up, and the Tribal Funk saga was launched.

It's a wondrously wriggly epic, dotted with giggling daisy logos and projected grinning cows, that kicks off with a 1993 Thanksgiving Day rave called "The Beginning" at the National Guard Armory in Concord and winds its way through the College of San Mateo dining hall, the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, and across "some rickety pier in China Basin." It brushes up against other well-known party names like the Gathering, Stompy Stomp, Coolworld, Toon Town, and Funky Techno Tribe and survives huge rain-outs, threatened cop busts, wily rival crews, and several cringe-inducing encounters with the word "phat." It amasses a rippling pool of luscious West Coast DJ talent: Carlos, Tony, DJ Dan, Cut Chemist, Z-Trip, and Charlotte the Baroness. Also, Chi-town house god Mark Farina — virtually unknown in the Bay when he spun at a 1994 Tribal Funk joint — will be rocking the nostalgia train with the wiggy Bassbin Twins as part of the 15th anniversary celebration at Mezzanine.

From its original collective, T-Funk has been pared down to Flash and the now-Los Angeles-based Neves, and has gone through several retirements — yet it's still delivered a massive massive many Thanksgiving weekends since its first Turkey Day bash. Vibe feathers! "I know it sounds clichéd," Flash reflects, "but we've always been about musical cross-pollination. It seems like the right time for us to be around again. We started when the scene was weak, and I feel it's gotten weak again — the underground SF-sound scene, I mean.

"Plus," he adds, "it's hard to kick the party-throwing bug. It's a drug — not about money, you'll never make money, and not about 'scoring chicks.' There's no feeling in the world like standing behind the DJ as 2,000 people jump up and scream for joy. You just gotta do it, man." *

TRIBAL FUNK 15 YEAR FAMILY REUNION

Sat/29, 9 p.m.–7 a.m., $25

Mezzanine

444 Jessie, SF

www.mezzaninesf.com

CLUCK AND BEAR IT

Gobble all the stuffing you want, then dance as the rollicking, bear-and-other-friendly Blowoff party returns to Slim's. I rarely recommend biggish parties like this — not because I don't love me some bare-chested bear meat, but because I never trust the music at large gay-oriented affairs. But the last installment was a packed hairy hoot, and DJ duo Richard Morel and Bob Mould kept the beats interesting, rocky even. Claws out, kiddies.

Sat/29, 10 p.m., $15. Slims, 333 11th St., SF.

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