Summer heat, tropical-style, with Surya Dub at Non Stop Bhangra. Plus: Cubcake, Cosmetics, more
SUPER EGO Hurray, it is not 115 degrees here! I just got a skype from my heatwaved homegirl Googie Santorum in Canton, Ohio, and she said all her wigs had melted into Dynel helmets and that she lost two pairs of kitten heels in the asphalt puddle outside Heggy's Nut Shop on West Tuskawaras Street. I thought we cured global warming 10 years ago when we sat through that Al Gore movie and quit using Aqua Net? Well, apparently not.
I felt a little guilty reveling in our temperate clime while the rest of America fried — but that all changed when I started instead feeling a little guilty for passing out on the Fourth with two lit sparklers in my hair and a crotchful of spilled PBR. Goddess bless America. And all her bald spots and blackout complications.
In club terms, however, summer's really steaming up our tails. I especially felt the mercury rising when it was announced that our hometown heroes of "dread bass," the Surya Dub DJ crew, would be returning to the scene, taking over the second dance floor of the bangin' Non Stop Bhangra monthly party on Sat/14 (9pm-3am, $10–$15. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF. www.publicsf.com). Bassheads, get ready for a low pressure system no amount of my overheated metaphors can properly describe.
The mega-affair is being billed as "Indian-Caribbean summer tropical bass madness," and you get mad amounts of hot tropicalia: a main room headlining slot from Portland's DJ Anjuli and The Incredible Kid, founders of the longest-running bhangra party on the West Coast; guest spots for our main moombahton man, DJ Theory, and Matt Haze of wicked broken bass collective Slayers Club; bhangra dance lessons from the amazing Dholrhythms dance troupe; live drumming ....
And on top of it, Surya Dub's ever-evolving, deep-global sound, finally back in the spotlight. SF's musico-cultural cross-currents certainly haven't flagged in the three years since the South Asian-flavored crew ruled the local bass scene with an irresistible mix of dub floor-droppers, future-bass bangers, ruff riddims, global breaks, and hip-hop bhangra. But when the crew members went on to various projects (including bringing Surya Dub to India and producing some great records), the scene lacked their singular fire.
"We never really went away," Maneesh the Twister told me on a conference call with fellow Dubbers Kush Arora and Jimmy Love. "But it seemed like the music was changing in the clubs here. We wanted to evolve, to update the dread bass sound, in response to all the dubstep, electronic bass music, UK funky, and bashment that's come to the fore."
"We started feeling a wider variety of both New World and traditional sounds," Kush told me. "African beats like kuduro — Buraka Som Sistema is great — to more post-dubstep tropical sounds. All of these rhythms that are talking to each other around the world. And of course we work in what's been going on in bhangra as it develops."
Jimmy, who also runs the Non Stop Bhangra party itself, was the catalyst for the "reunion."
"We're don't just play traditional-sounding Bollywood or bhangra at the NSB parties," he said. "I love dub reggae and Afrolicious-like funk, and our die-hard Indian crowd has loved when we play more tropical tracks. We always want to stretch the definition, and walking upstairs to Surya's room will be a seamless experience of global sounds.