Say you, say me

Lionel Richie, crocodreadles, and fab drag in Southeast Asia. Plus: Kotchy, Clive Henry, Davies After Dark, and more nightlife
Running with the night

SUPER EGO Adult contemporary is alive and well and thriving in Southeast Asia. I just touched down from a refreshing jaunt to that worldly hot spot: Cambodia a capitalist riot of beauty and pollution, untamed Laos a communist stoner's wet dream. Everyone Hunky Beau and I met was gorgeous, despite the odd backpacker overload, which occasioned a few frightful spottings of crocadreadles — northern Europeans sporting poorly waxed dreadlocks, jingle pants, and stomach-churning Crocs.

Memo to the Danes: please stop.

Still, even that led to some perfect Putamayo moments, as when a lovely Jewish-Korean singer at Dead Fish Tower guesthouse in Siem Reap launched into her acoustic version of Daft Punk's "One More Time." Many of the citizens themselves, however, seemed happily obsessed with Lionel Richie, Westlife, Yanni (it lives!), and Thailand's answer to Nickelback, Big Ass. The gay clubs were pumping the usual homo-panglobal Kylie Minoguerrhea, sigh, yet the drag was way brill. But alternative DJ and dance music culture — and even the hip-hop aspirations my Amerocentric, quasi-Orientalist mind expected to sense in the region's rapidly developing economic climate — seemed banished to the land of wind and ghosts.

I'd say I felt a little sorry for the baby-boom youth there, but who am I to make value judgments? Value judgments give me acne, Jessica Simpson — and a few weeks probably aren't enough time to properly shake out an underground. Besides, here on the other side of the rim our dance charts are clogged with Lady GaGa blah-blah-blah, zombie Prodigy retreads, and something called "Total Dance 2009." Goddess help us all. If ever there was a moment to hit the reboot on Western mainstream dance music — hell, even drag to trash and go running with the night — this may be it.



"If you're tired of all the retro shit, holla," woozes New York City's Kotchy on one of his typical genre-fuck tracks, blending ambient squelches with trippy bloops from inner space. "Our culture must be in a coma, and I'm not a doctor." Glasgow-based future bass collective LuckyMe brings twilit melodies, brogue-inflected park bench rhymes, and wry Scots humor to the burgeoning genre. Both Kotchy and LuckyMe's Mike Slott will bruise the speakers with live performances, while graffiti artists sear your sinuses, at this month's installment of Bass Camp.

Thu/19, 9 p.m., $10–$15. 111 Minna, SF.,


Do the words "electric strings" excite you as much as they do me? Yeah, that's right, I'm a geek. The San Francisco Symphony, following in the frisky footsteps of other wildly successful nightlife-aware arts institutions, is launching a monthly post-performance shindig composed of cutting-edge styles. Cellist Alex Kelly's avant-jazz combo kicks off this month, with electric strings and rock from NTL in April and the massive DJ Masonic with Mercury Lounge in May.

Fri/20, April 24, and May 22, after 8 p.m. concert, free with purchase of symphony performance ticket. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness, SF.


The name may sound like a trade show — and I'm here to tell you that drum 'n bass fans make pretty great trade — but this huge affair brings serious low-end to Temple's multiple floors, and a boffo chance to reconnect with, and lose your droopy drawers to, the fractured sound of yore. Chase and Status, Radioactive, 2 Cents, A.I., Havoc, and more break it up. Let's get ready to rumble.

Fri/20, 10 p.m., $20.

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