Nightlife: Armory Club opens, Mother Records flies, Icee Hot label launches, Secret Summer, Miracles Club, more parties
SUPER EGO Last Saturday was one of those incredibly painful nights when there were about 30 awesome-sounding parties that peaked around midnight but all closed at two. Sad trombone, San Francisco, sad trombone. Look, I know our last call cut-off is a state-mandated dealie, but can't we make a case for our fabulous party exceptionalism? And what is the point of all these rich social media companies relocating to SF if they aren't paying someone off to let us bump all night? Seriously. I am not seeing the IRL benefit here.
One of the affairs I managed to beep-beep through on the hectic party express was the "soft opening" — no jokes! And no, I did not make the party actually called Soft Opening that same night — of Kink.com's gorgeous new Armory Club (1799 Mission, SF. www.armoryclub.com), across the street from Kink's Armory HQ itself, which will leave no one with a sad trombone, but not for the reason you'd think.
The joint is a Victoriana steampunk dream, pure class from the pressed tin ceilings and wrought iron fireplace to the eye-popping textured wallpaper and screens playing uncannily digitized film classics. The only hint of the Armory's proudly perverse origins is a cheeky oil painting of a clothespin-adorned female nude, and a neat-but-evolving drink menu including Gently Bound and Donkey Punch cocktails. I'll miss the Ace, the neighborhood biker bar Armory replaced, but cheers and a slap 'n tickle to Kink for not going all obvious go-go dominatrix on us.
MOTHS TO A FLAME
For the past two years, there's been a chill, cherry Upper Haight-via-Berkeley (with a couple all-night stops at Gray Whale Cove) house scene brewing, centered on the free Spilt Milk parties at Milk Bar, thrown by the deep-grooved Mother Records crew. (Mother not like drag mother but like someone who studies moths.) At first glance, the Mother crew — including Mountaincount, King's Ransom, Wentworth, Nil, and Taylor Fife — are a lovable bunch of scruffy Cal lads into outdoor raves and elevated mental states. At second glance they're still all that, but also intensely dedicated to making great music and cultivating a smart but laidback crowd.
Rad new free compilation EP Buff-tip (www.soundcloud.com/motherrecords), named for European moth species Phalera bucephala, shows off the Mothers' variety, with tracks spanning R&B house, techno samba, and electro raveup. "Like most of the Cal scene, we were into dubstep until a couple years ago," Fife told me. "But it all started to sound the same, and the crowd went in a more intense direction. We gladly call what we do house, though there's still definitely a bass music core." (Special shout-out here to Wentworth's nifty side project, live electro-house trio Pixel Memory.) The label's tricky name was inspired, variously, from flashes of light at Burning Man, a moth tattoo on someone's arm, and a late afternoon smoke-session to find something "subversive, silly, and confusing."