It's that time again: Halloween, All Hallows' Eve. Heralding chilly weather, more rain if we're lucky, and the beginning of the holiday season, it's also one of San Francisco's biggest party nights of the year, approaching New Year's Eve in the volume and scale of events vying for your precious time, cash, and attendance. This week's column is a bit different — no one particular party is featured; instead there are three top-notch club nights and two decidedly non-club affairs, should you wish to avoid the clubs entirely this Halloween weekend.
Lights Down Low Halloween Blowout featuring Eats Everything, Dusky, Benoit + Sergio at Mezzanine, 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Oct. 31. $40; mezzaninesf.com
If you love the distinctly rubbery, bouncy flavor of contemporary U.K. house music — influenced by British garage and two-step and paired with the vocal samples, piano lines, and four-on-the-floor beats of classic Chicago house — then this is the party for you. Headlining is Eats Everything, the Bristolian who has, over the course of the past several years, become one of the most in-demand DJs on the European circuit for his all-inclusive house music sets, drawing on U.K. bass music, American house, and old-school rave. Dusky, a British duo that released a number of records that blurred the line between glossy big-room tech-house and bass-heavy post-garage, shares headlining duties with Benoit + Sergio, the D.C. duo known for its minimal tech-house anthems with poppy vocal flair. Lights Down Low's Richie Panic and Sizemore will hold it down into the wee hours.
Public Works & Dax present The Martinez Brothers, DJ Sneak, NU, and more at Public Works, 9 p.m.-5 a.m. Friday, Oct. 31. $25-$30; publicsf.com
Public Works' Halloween extravaganza features a diverse spread of house music for your costumed dancefloor enjoyment. The Martinez Brothers are a New York-bred DJ duo whose sets provide an updated, youthful take on the classic New York garage house sound. Their sets are loaded with disco and deep house classics mixed in with newer acid-flavored techno, bridging gaps between generations of dancers. Billing himself as the “House gangster,” DJ Sneak is truly old-school, coming up in Chicago in the '90s and innovating the “filter-house” sound popularized by Daft Punk; his DJ sets are filled with the vocal samples and jackin' basslines that vintage house music is known for. The real treat here is NU, a Berlin-based DJ and producer who crafts slow (110 bpm) and spiritual house music with languid bass lines, soulful vocals, and tribal drums.
TVNNEL presents Iceage, Helm, Vaniish and more at Elbo Room, 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Oct. 31. $13-$15; elbo.com
And now for something completely different: If you're looking for something very much out of the ordinary to do on Halloween, this is your best bet. Danish quartet Iceage headlines this bill — ostensibly a punk band, the band has made waves for being remarkably young (all four band members were born in 1991 or later), but their music — sharp, angular, dark, and ruthless — is what catapulted them to worldwide success. Their latest album, released earlier this year, is a moodier post-punk affair, turning down the intensity but sounding no less vital or melancholy. They're paired with Helm, a sound artist and noise musician from London who has been steadily releasing unsettling, corrosive soundscapes since the late aughts, and Vaniish, a newly formed San Francisco band that channels the spirit of Joy Division without sounding derivative — no small feat.
SF Station presents The Bug featuring Manga, Wolf Eyes, and more at The Independent, 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1. $18-$20; theindependentsf.com
Something's up this Halloween: not one, but two killer genre-bending lineups to be had. This one provides what is surely the heaviest bass to be had all weekend: The Bug, also known as Kevin Martin (formerly of Godflesh and Techno Animal), is known for all-out bass punishment (The Independent will be reinforcing its speaker stack for this one). Borrowing elements from dancehall, dub reggae, hip-hop, and dubstep, and joined on stage by grime emcee Manga, The Bug's particular blend of bass weight is something unique and ruthlessly heavy. Joining him is another ruthlessly heavy performer of an entirely different bent, Wolf Eyes, an American noise act (and one-time Pitchfork darling) who is remarkably rhythmic, given their penchant for feedback, unintelligible samples, and vocals that sound like a death rattle.
Mighty Real and Honey Soundsystem present Nite of the Dead at Mighty, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1. $15-$20; mighty119.com
Celebrate Dia de los Muertos in style with Honey Soundsystem and Mighty Real's David Harness. Harness, a Mighty resident and one of the city's most renowned house DJs, teams up with the Honey Soundsystem crew (Jason Kendig, Josh Cheon, Robot Hustle, and Jackie House) for an all-night locals-only affair. The Honey crew — and Harness, for that matter — are some of San Francisco's best DJs, easily holding their own against any of the global talent we have in the city on any given weekend. Expect sleek, modern techno paired with vintage house music and a smattering of EBM and new wave to keep things interesting. A full-scale visual installation by Philip Filastre will transform the club into a ghastly dancefloor worthy of all of your starring-in-the-“Thriller”-video dreams.