Chicago, Detroit, Germany. As You Like It's latest showcase is, in many ways, an homage to these three regions and their respective contributions to electronic music, featuring two heavyweights and an array of rising talent.
Headlining the whole affair is Robag Wruhme (“Robag” being a reversal of his given name, Gabor), a German stalwart with a long career stretching back to the mid-'90s. Known early on as part of the Wighnomy Brothers (a DJ duo, but their productions were Robag alone), he developed a melodic, swinging take on minimal techno, becoming a pillar of Kompakt, a well-regarded Cologne-based record label. He's joined by Daniel Bell, one of the Detroit techno old guard whose tune “Losing Control” remains one of techno's classic jams. They're both formidable and talented DJs, with collections running the gamut across their respective continents — and styles.
Upstairs in the Loft, Chicago takes over in the form of an Argot Records showcase, the label helmed by Steve Mizek, the former editor of one of the internet's primary resources for electronic music, Little White Earbuds. Mizek will be DJing alongside two of the producers on his record label: Olin, who crafts lurid yet understated deep house, and The Black Madonna, a producer and DJ with a knack for vintage disco that bangs as hard as modern techno.
Rounding out the bill are As You Like It residents Bells & Whistles, supporting in the Loft, with Rich Korach going back to back with Chicago DJ Sassmouth to open up the main room.
Other worthy parties this week
Honey Soundsystem featuring Justin Long at 60 Sixth St., 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Feb. 6. $10 pre-sale, more at door; honeysoundsystem.com
Honey Soundsystem is ushering in 2015 with an ambitious (and much-needed) project, a six-date residency at legendary Chicago club Smart Bar it's calling “Generators.” The project is being billed as a “six-part immersive exploration of the subjective history of the queer nightclub.” To kick the project off, it's first playing host to Justin Long, impresario of Smart Bar monthly party Hugo Ball, a pansexual genre-bender of a party that aims to collapse the boundaries between dancefloor genres (and sexualities, for that matter). True to his party's ethos, Long is a talented selector with a broad range, and you're as likely to hear Severed Heads in his sets as you are Gesloten Cirkel or Farley “Jackmaster” Funk. The Honey residents (Jason Kendig, Josh Cheon, Robot Hustle, and Jackie House) will man the decks beside him, and the whole thing will be going down in an underground basement space on Sixth Street — one that will surely be familiar to seasoned San Francisco clubgoers.
Surface Tension presents Vessel, Cube and more at F8, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Feb. 6. $10 before 11 p.m., $15 after; feightsf.com
The city of Bristol, in the southwestern U.K., has long been one of the world's most fascinating musical melting pots. The birthplace of jungle and trip-hop, it's also the home of artists who commingle techno, dub, reggae, hip-hop, post-punk, and more. Some of the latest sounds to come out of the city are courtesy of the Young Echo Collective, a group of young musicians blurring the walls between grime, techno, ambient, industrial, and dub. One of their members, Vessel, is touring the States in support of his recent album, Punish, Honey, recently released on Tri-Angle Records. It's a hazy, woozy industrial techno affair, full of off-kilter rhythms and cold moods; nevertheless, it's dance music through-and-through, designed to get your body moving. Oakland-based experimental techno musician Cube will be supporting, and the Surface Tension DJs (full disclosure: the author is one of them) will be keeping the dancefloor bumping till the wee hours of the morning.
Dirtybird 10 Release Party featuring Claude VonStroke, Justin Martin, J.Phlip, and more at Mezzanine, 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Feb. 6. $10 before 11 p.m., $20 after; mezzaninesf.com
Ten years is a long time, especially in electronic music. As electronic music has become more and more popular in the United States, the turnover of artists, sounds, and styles has increased apace. What was hot eight months ago is hopelessly outdated today. Still, real talent persists, and that's why Dirtybird is where they are today — at the top of the heap. Label boss Claude VonStroke will be making a rare appearance here in his hometown, alongside the whole Dirtybird crew: Justin Martin and his brother Christian Martin, Kill Frenzy, Worthy, and J. Phlip. If you don't know the Dirtybird sound, it's big, rambunctious, bouncy and brash house music, infectiously groovy and pretty much impossible not to dance to. This party is an excellent way to get acquainted with their sound or, if you're already a fan, to catch VonStroke slamming it out with the rest of his crew.
Push The Feeling presents Jeffrey Brodsky, Eug, and more at Underground SF, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 7. $5 before 10 p.m., $8 after; undergroundsf.com
Jeffrey Brodsky is perhaps better known as the drummer for American DFA-affiliated electro-pop band YACHT (and also as the former drummer for similarly-minded act RAC), but he has begun to break out on his own. Last year saw him release his first 12-inch I'll Be Strong (now sold out), on San Francisco label Public Release. It comfortably occupies that space between nu-disco and house, with a slower beat, cut-up vocals, and arms-in-the-air synths. It serves as a nice primer for his DJ sets, so expect nu-disco, indie dance, and vocal-heavy house tunes when he headlines Push The Feeling. Joining him is San Francisco mainstay Eug, who runs the irregularly-occurring FACE parties here in the city. He's also a fantastic DJ, with broad knowledge of all things disco-related. Push The Feeling's resident DJs YR SKULL and Kevin Meenan will get the night started.