Nightlife

Nite Trax: Is Beatport the new Wal-Mart of techno?

|
(3)

When I heard that super-popular, infuriatingly designed dance music download site Beatport had partnered with Shazam earlier this month, I wanted to write something about how the valuable mystery of the underground might be compromised by anyone being able to hold a phone up to immediately identify and download a track. And then I wanted to contrast some of the fun measures DJs might take to prevent their tracklists (one of the few proprietary things left that can really distinguish a good DJ) from being exposed, with the simple joy of finally stumbling upon a song you'd been looking for for 22 years that instantly projects you into your gloriously wasted youth because yay Internet. The partnership might not be so bad, after all, if it leads to new discoveries and interesting subversions.

Beatport has a lot of crappy mainstream tracks on it, and the back catalogue is incredibly spotty, but it has some great stuff, too, and it's giant. (I go there once in a while to hear what a sizable audience is listening to and catch up on new releases.) And it does at least nominally reward musicmakers with some money and exposure, an opportunity to sell their handmade bedroom creations. It's kind of like Etsy for pimply boys. If Beatport-Shazam helps people find and buy some great new tracks, then fine. I also remember how cute the Denver-based Beatport was in the beginning, its candy-raver-like representatives handing me alien-looking free download credit cards at Pride and Love Parade and the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. Awww.  

But then I read this super-annoying but awesomely candid Billboard interview with Beatport CEO Matthew Adell about the partnership, and thought, "Hey, if they're gonna treat underground music as just a big business to be repackaged and monetized, (albeit one they seem to enjoy at least a little), then they can defend the Shazam partnership from angry DJs their own damn selves." 

Read more »

Wiener's dance mix: more DJs mixed with fines for "bad actors"

|
(7)

DJs could proliferate in San Francisco's bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and plazas under legislation that Sup. Scott Wiener introduced today to include DJs under the city's limited live music permits, but the legislation also includes new enforcement powers to crackdown on underground parties and other unpermitted events.Read more »

Party Radar: You are and will be a High Fantasy

|
(0)

Everybody's floaty-wierdo, cutting edge (but not all showy about it) Tuesday dance + drag hangout, High Fantasy at Aunt Charlie's, celebrates three years of ethereal tomfoolery, Tue/26. It's a legacy!

Read more »

Nite Trax: 222 Hyde is closing :(

|
(11)

Oh jeez, sad news this morning from EO, owner of great, actually-underground rave cave 222 Hyde. Due to a change in ownership of the nightlub's building, and some continued trouble with the ABC state liquor and license patrol, 222 will be closing March 9.

There's gonna be a huge closing party that night of course! (Stay tuned for details.)

This marks the loss of one of the most truly open-eared venues to come along in a while, a space that had room - well, a little room, at least, that basement dancefloor got packed! -- for ambitious electronic experiment as well as balls out crowd pleasers, but always on the cutting edge. The staff is pretty great, too -- and the space itself is a historic nightlife landmark. I don't want to make any grand statements about the blandification of SF nightlife, you've heard it all before, but 222's size insured that lesser-known acts, or ones not so familiar in the US, could perform to a vibing dancefloor, rather than risk the cost of larger venues. (And I regret not making it to some of the recent parties like Wednesday's "What?!" party and the appearance by Skooz. Next time!)

EO will continue on with his ear-grabbing electronic music production -- I wish him and his staff well and thank you for the music! Let's make sure the next few weeks and the closing party are real blowouts. EO's message to me after the jump:

Read more »

Supervisors consider Western SoMa Plan, lots of new condos, and "the purple building"

|
(129)

The fate of the “purple building” – which has become caught up in the clash between nightlife and residential interests on the clubgoer-saturated 300-block of 11th Street – remains undecided as the Western SoMa Community Plan heads into its first hearing before the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee on Monday.Read more »

Party Radar: Mutant Beat Dance, Safeword, Matmos, Harvey, Frankie Knuckles

|
(0)

In my weirder '90s paisley dreams, all clubs in Montreal look like this. In my weirder 2013 Tumblr dreams all clubs in New York look like this. But I will CERTAINLY take all clubs in the here-and-now looking like the SF quintet of fantasticality that follows. N'est-ce pas?

Read more »

Nite Trax: DJ Sprinkles lays it out

|
(32)

The phenomenal house DJ and experimental musicmaker on mainstream visibility, transgender globalism, Bay Area queer culture, and the "shopping mall diversity" of the current dance music scene.

Techno has always had room for theorists and intellectuals, from Derrick May to the Mille Plateaux label roster, and social activists, like Moodymann and Underground Resistance. Most of that discourse usually takes place musically, however, with concepts emerging from the vinyl itself. The celebrated DJ Sprinkles, a.k.a. Terre Thaemlitz, the American head of Japan-based label Comatonse, tops all that by making intellectually grounded music glimmering with poetic touches and expounding in interviews and writing on such heady, heated topics as essentialism, gender idenitity, surveillance, and authenticity. She leads workshops, goes on speaking engagements, and isn't afraid to let loose in interviews. (For example -- see below -- rather than "born this way" platitudes, she considers her queer identity "beat this way.") 

It's a beautiful thing, especially in the rare context of controversial truth and radical opinion pouring from the mouth and keyboard of an outspoken transgender major player on the stubbornly homogenous global house-techno DJ scene. Of course, it all comes down to the music -- we'll get a treat when Sprinkles (who chose the name because he wanted something that sounded "totally pussy" in opposition to macho DJ culture, to buck the testosteronal scene) performs Sun/24 at Honey Soundsystem -- and Sprinkles certainly has the goods. He's released umpteen pieces in an astoundng breadth of genres under multiple pseudonyms over the past 20 years. Masterpiece deep house album "Midtown 120 Blues" siezed the top of several best of 2009 charts and was, typically, followed by Soulnessless, a 30-hour "mp3 album" of music and video. Because why the hell not?

Read more »

Party Radar: Terracotta Warriors come out to plaaa-aay

|
(0)

I've dreamt of traveling to Xi'an, China and witnessing the ancient army of buried terracotta warriors practically my whole life. The uncanny legions frozen in fired clay, each individual's features uniquely fashioned, were discovered underground in 1974, a kinda creepy burial accompaniment of the first emperor Qin Shihuang (259-210 BCE), in a tomb complex the size of a city.    

Now, some of those mesmerising warriors are coming to me, via the Asian Art Museum's "China's Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor's Legacy" where a selection of life-size figures and related objects will be exhibited Feb 22-May 27.

So of course it's time to party, electro '80s cult B-movie style!

Read more »

Clubs vs. condos

Can new housing coexist with nightlife in western SoMa? A rezoning debate around the 11th Street Corridor heats up

|
(29)

steve@sfbg.com

The Western South of Market area is ground zero for the city's War on Fun, a place where nightlife often comes into conflict with residential expectations, particularly on the raucous 300 block of 11th Street and, to a lesser degree, Folsom Street's old "miracle mile" of predominantly gay bars.Read more »

Party Radar: RainDance, Psychemagik, LA Vampires, Death on the Balcony, Blick's Mix

|
(0)

Oh hey, how 'bout this week we all just shut up and dance?

Read more »