Some DJs build their careers playing one type of music, and playing it inside out. Other DJs build their careers by playing everything under the sun. Optimo is a pair of hard-working Scotsmen, Jonnie Wilkes and Keith McIvor, whose 13-year Sunday night residency at Glasgow's Sub Club was known for wildly diverse bookings and DJ sets. Generally speaking, The Optimo duo tends towards disco, but that's just a drop in the bucket — the two throw post-punk, new wave, minimal techno, deep house, EBM, and industrial into sets regularly, and because they're incredibly talented DJs, it all works together. They're some of the most talented DJs in the world.
However, the real treat at this party is Gerd Janson. The German DJ-producer is perhaps best known for his record label, Running Back, which has been releasing essential, top-notch deep house, disco edits, and dubwise techno since 2002, including some of Todd Terje's, Mark E's, and Radio Slave's best tracks. If you were to compile a list of Top Ten Underrated DJs, Gerd Janson would surely be close to the top: He doesn't self-promote, he's not flashy, and his record collection goes back to the early days of Chicago house and Detroit techno. He knows how to work a crowd, whipping them into a frenzy, and never shies away from giving the audience what it wants. His fantastic sense of humor and positive attitude are the icing on the cake.
Last but certainly not least is Suzanne Kraft, the alter ego of L.A.'s Diego Herrera, a young producer crafting woozy house and tricky disco. As You Like It resident Rich Korach rounds out the proceedings.
Other worthy parties this week
Housepitality presents Roman Flügel, Mossmoss, and more, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22. Free before 11 p.m. w/RSVP, $5 before 10 p.m., $10 after; feightsf.com
I don't often write Housepitality up in this column — it's a midweek party and this column is weekend-centric — but the fact of the matter is, it's the best midweek party in San Francisco and, every so often, they book someone so top-notch that you must do whatever it takes to attend, Thursday morning be damned. Roman Flügel is one such booking. The German DJ and producer has been active since the early '90s, releasing records under a bevy of pseudonyms spanning nearly every genre imaginable. As a DJ, his record bag is filled with the finest underground techno and house from 20-plus years in the biz, with a soft spot for beautiful German melodic vibes and the occasional electro banger. Local DJ Mossmoss will play a special low-tempo set in F8's side room while Miguel Solari opens the night up.
Eclipse NightLife featuring Ceephax Acid Crew and more, 6-10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23. $12; calacademy.org
The Academy of Science's NightLife events are always fun for a lot of reasons: First, they offer up some of the best people-watching in the city (how often do you get to see so many people on first and second dates all at once?); second, there's all manner of activities to enjoy; and third, despite the mass-market audience, Cal Academy has no qualms booking top-notch underground electronic music. Which is exactly what it's done here: Ceephax Acid Crew is making his first (to my knowledge) appearance in San Francisco, bringing his acid-techno wizardry all the way from the U.K. For the unfamiliar, Ceephax (aka Andy Jenkinson) is a bonafide master of the Roland TB-303, releasing a stream of albums and EPs since 1998 dedicated to the squelchy, squirrelly sound. Oh, and he's Squarepusher's brother and Aphex Twin adores him, if you need further convincing.
Jackhammer Disco and Noise Pop present Moodymann at Public Works, 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. $20-$25; publicsf.com
The man, the myth, the legend: Moodymann. Electronic music, as a rule, tends towards facelessness, but Moodymann is anything but faceless. Born Kenny Dixon Jr. and based out of Detroit, Moodymann's productions embody the spirit of house music in a way few others can even begin to approach. Incorporating samples and motifs from funk, jazz, and soul, he crafts some of the most effortlessly groovy tunes you'll ever find — and they'll smash dancefloors to pieces besides. He's also got a much more soulful, sexy, sultry side, with many tracks featuring his own vocals. When he gets on the decks, he brings a microphone, a bottle of Hennessy, an entourage, and a stack of the finest house and techno wax known to man. Not to be missed.
Modular presents Ben Pearce and Monkey Safari, 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. $10-$20; audiosf.com
For something a little glossier on Saturday night, head to Audio to catch Brit Ben Pearce tear it up alongside German duo Monkey Safari. Pearce hails from Manchester, and although he's only released a single 12-inch, “What I Might Do,” it's the kind of tune that careers are built on — a rolling, UK funky bassline provides the foundation for the bluesy, time-stretched vocals that sent the track to the top of the charts across Europe. Monkey Safari's take on tech-house is sunny, warm, inviting, and heavy on the vocal samples, with occasional tribal flourishes to keep things interesting. Local DJs Pedro Arbulu and Benjamin Jorgens will keep the vibe going throughout the evening.