Christmas time is here / Happiness and cheer / Or what all partygoers call / The most quiet time of the year.
Happy holidays, everyone. It's Christmas time in San Francisco. Days are more or less over and done with by 4 p.m., and the thermostat in my apartment reads 62 degrees. There are cats and dogs in the windows of Macy's and not one, but two ice rinks up (drought be damned). The hill in my backyard is finally, finally turning green, and for the first time in 2015, there is barely a single out-of-town marquee guest DJ to be found in the whole city.
The end of the year is always a very strange time in the party world. Because of Christmas, it's one of the quietest stretches, at least in the beginning before it morphs into absolute party madness for New Year's Eve. This year, both holidays happen to fall on weekends, compounding the effect. But fret not, partygoers. This Christmas weekend might not be packed with headliners, but there are still a number of notable soirées to be had, providing much-needed respite from either the tyranny of forced family time or loneliness from the lack thereof. Remember: On the dancefloor, you're among your real family. Party on!
Thursday, 12/24 — Christmas Eve
Deck The Decks at F8; 9 p.m.-late, free; feightsf.com.
On Christmas Eve, F8 is hosting a free party with an excellent lineup consisting almost entirely of locals. F8's front room will be soundtracked by Bob Five, a versatile Bay Area DJ known for his Black Magic Disko parties and techno-centric sounds; Mike Gushansky, formerly of the Bay, who is the newest resident DJ for As You Like It and has a serious knack for vinyl mixing; and Nackt, resident DJ for Output and a killer producer, too (check his tape on 100% Silk). In the back, there's Petko Nikolov and Alex Lin, residents of The Shuffle Co-Op, who dig genuine deep house and classic disco, and Max Gardner, another Direct To Earth resident.
Bubble Bursting featuring Jenö and Pwny at Underground SF; 8 p.m.-2 a.m., free; undergroundsf.com.
Jenö and his Wicked Crew go back in the Bay Area — way back. In '91, they began throwing their now-legendary “full moon parties,” kickstarting the Bay Area rave scene. Some 25-ish years later, they're still at it. Here's an opportunity to catch Jenö at work for exactly zero dollars alongside Bubble resident Pwny, who'll be warming up the night. Plus, there's a free comedy show in the evening!
Friday, 12/25 — Christmas Day
Acid Xmas at F8; 9 p.m.-4 a.m., $5; feightsf.com.
F8 loves the holidays. If you're looking to dance to acid house, acid techno, and beyond on Christmas night, this is the (only) place to be. F8's Christmas party last year was totally slammed and looks like it will be again given that some of the Bay's best are on offer. Mike Bee, long-time DJ and owner of one of the best record stores in San Francisco, Vinyl Dreams, will be playing, as well as Vin Sol, resident DJ at the aptly-titled Club Lonely and Anthony Mansfield, of Burning Man camp Disco Knights. There's also a “very special guest.” Who could it be?
Death Guild X-Mess at DNA Lounge; 9 p.m-3 a.m., $5; dnalounge.com.
The longest-running goth/industrial/synthpop club in the United States is Death Guild. It's a Monday night institution, a place where you can reliably hear Skinny Puppy, Wumpscut, Apoptygma Berzerk, and Wolfsheim all on the same night and dance with people wearing furry boots and neon dreadlocks. They're also open every year on Christmas night for anyone who needs a bit of Black Mass to escape the holiday cheer. Oh, and on this night, it's all ages! Which is both a blessing and a curse, just like the holidays in general.
Saturday, 12/26 — Boxing Day
Surface Tension presents Jonah Sharp, Earthen Sea, and Single Cell Orchestra at F8; 10 p.m.-4 a.m., $5 before 11 p.m., $10 after; feightsf.com.
The F8 madness continues with an after-Christmas special featuring a slew of Bay Area legends. Jonah Sharp, perhaps better known as Spacetime Continuum (or half of Reagenz, with fellow legend Move D), has been a fixture of San Francisco's electronic music scene since the beginning, pioneering the “ambient techno” sound in the early '90s. Single Cell Orchestra, one Miguel Fierro, who came up alongside Sharp, has a gorgeous, dreamy sound (and is endorsed by none other than Maceo Plex). Earthen Sea is a newer S.F. artist with a similarly beautiful, dubbed-out ambient techno sound. In F8's back room, Surface Tension resident DJs (myself included) will be holding it down alongside special guest Ghosts on Tape.
Noise From The Void with TK Disko, Conor, Jenö, and more at Monarch; 9 p.m.-3 a.m., $15; monarchsf.com.
For the disco-lovers, Jenö — profiled above — is bringing his Noise From The Void party to Monarch after Christmas, featuring L.A. artist TK Disko, better known as one-half of production outfit Split Secs. Joining them are a slew of the Bay's finest DJs, including No Way Back's Conor and We Are Monsters' Mozhgan. Tunes on offer will likely skew towards the cosmic disco-acid house end of the spectrum.
David Harness all night at Mighty; 9 p.m.-3 a.m., free before 11:30 p.m. with RSVP; mighty119.com.
If you live in the Bay Area and love house music, you almost assuredly know who David Harness is. The Oakland-based selector has been playing soulful deep house and funky disco all over the Bay for decades now, and he's scheduled to play an all-night, open-close set — for free (with RSVP). What's more, Mighty's hosting an open bar for the first hour of the party, so you can properly warm up for a night of dancing, free of charge.