SF-based talent agency Liaison Artists is behind most of the techno you dance to. Plus: Last Nite, Rare Bits, FGAG, James Blake, and more parties this week
Kelsey's own music bona fides help allay any fears of good music being cynically corporatized. He moved here in 1998 to chase his dreams of working in the vibrant scene, and jumped at the chance to join the OM label, recruiting talent when it dominated dance music in the early '00s. He soon found his love of more underground sounds leading him to form his own agency, Blue Collar. That became Liaison a couple years ago, a rebranding that took off as the global DJ circuit became more established, and the definition of "underground" expanded to include legal club venues with a tilt toward non-mainstream crowds and sounds. Liaison also makes its name with its own parties as well — saucing up last month's Winter Music Conference with the star-packed Last Resort party, and planning the wild annual Life and Death label party at the upcoming Detroit Electronic Music festival.
Despite repping so many foreign stars in the US, Liaison is also SF's gateway to wider recognition for homegrown musical talent. Take its canny handling of our current most popular export, the bass-heavy, often hilarious Dirtybird crew. "Dirtybird is the missing link of the underground music world right now," Kelsey tells me, pulling back the curtain a bit on this business we call show. "A huge population of young people is growing out of more aggressive sounds like dubstep. Now they're looking for something that's more sophisticated and deeper than mainstream EDM, but still a lot of big-room fun. Dirtybird has the perfect gateway sound to make that transition to some of our other big artists. So right now, our job is to make bookings that put Dirtybird in front of that crowd, and help introduce it to real techno and house."
And that, mis amigas, is the makings of a perfect liaison.
THIS WEEK'S PARTIES:
The ambitious Detroit producer's "New for U" was a breakout hit of 2012, but sweeping, cinematic house is just one of the mind-bending tricks up this Dilla-protege's sleeve.
Wed/10, $5 before 11pm, $10 after. F8, 1192 Folsom, SF. www.housepitalitysf.com
My favorite good ol' fashioned gay house party, Fag Fridays (18 years young!), is revving up for a full-on revival with this extravaganza at Monarch. (The last one was packed and amazing.) A can't miss for those who need/want some soul in their hole. With NY legend Tedd Patterson and SF legend David Harness, get it!
Fri/12, 9pm-3am, $15. Monarch, 101 Sixth St., SF. www.monarchsf.com
LAST NITE: 2000S INDIE DANCE PARTY
Oh gawd it's here: let the retro-00s (retr00s?) commence! Jamie Jams and Emdee, the fiendish minds behind seminal '90s revival party Debaser, kick it into the Interpol-Shins-Strokes-White Stripes era and take you slightly back to "a time when punks suddenly remembered how to dance" — you could still hear guitars on the radio.
Fri/12, 10pm, $5 before 11pm, $10 after. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF. www.facebook.com/lastnite00s
Seminal SF scene queen Deena Davenport DJs at this hoot of a monthly gathering, playing rarities and B-sides on the fly, joining resident DJs Chicken, Bobby Please, The Fat Pescetarian for 15-minute tag team sets and nutso visuals, with food by Two Tarts and a Stove.
Fri/12, 6pm-midnite, free. Truck, 1900 Folsom, SF.