All too often, the visual elements of a dance party feel like afterthoughts. A good dance party can't happen without the right DJ or performer — that much is clear. So when a party promoter and designer pairs the right DJ with the right visual artist, a good dance party can become a great one. The Chase is one such party.
The Chase, an irregularly occurring dance party now in its seventh iteration, returns on Aug. 29. From the beginning, the party has focused on its visuals just as much as its sound. Party promoter and resident DJ Ash Williams, aka Jimmy Gillan, explains, “It's really the point: to elevate the visual artist's role a bit since what they do is so crucial to the vibe. Subset [the party's visual artist] did the visuals at my own live performance at Haçeteria a few years ago and I've been aching to work with them ever since. I don't know anyone who does color and strong forms better.”
Music-wise, The Chase is headlined by Magic Touch, aka Damon Palermo, a former San Francisco resident now based in L.A., whose take on house music has a particularly West Coast feel. “I don't think about the beach or sunny vibes while making music, although a couple people in Japan told me the same thing [about the West Coast sound],” Palermo says. “I definitely enjoy tropical environments, the ocean, so maybe my preferred environment comes out in the tunes.” Intentional or not, expect warm, breezy melodies and classic vocal cuts when Magic Touch DJs back-to-back with Roche, a local producer/DJ with a complementary approach to house music.
Rounding out the bill are L.A.'s Newbody, another part of the 100% Silk family alongside Magic Touch. “Once Damon mentioned he was working with [Newbody] for the album he released earlier this year, I thought it would be good to get a bunch of the collaborators together for a single show,” says Gillan. Last but certainly not least, Ghosts On Tape, one of Icee Hot's resident DJs, should fit right in with the rest of the Silk crew.
Other worthy parties this week
BASE presents Richie Panic, Canli, Antonio, and Kirin Rider at Monarch, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 28. Free before 11 p.m; monarchsf.com
If you're looking for a party on Thursday evening, this is the place to be. Lights Down Low resident Richie Panic will be DJing alongside other locals Canli, Antonio, and Kirin Rider. Panic, for the uninitiated, is a party monster of a DJ, slamming out hard-hitting modern house tracks alongside classic cuts, but he also has an affinity for modern bass music, the kind of booty-bounce beats produced by the likes of Salva, Mimosa, and others. In other words, expect him to get down and dirty whenever the situation calls for it. Kirin Rider, a local producer and DJ of similar bass-heavy sounds, will be joining him.
Mighty Real presents Todd Terry at Mighty, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Saturday, Aug, 30. $20; mighty119.com
If you know house music, you know Todd Terry. The original Master At Work, he is one of the originators of the New York house sound. His remixes and edits of early house and Italo tracks were some of the first to gain broad appeal, climaxing with his mix of the everywhere-in-the-'90s classic “Missing” by Everything But The Girl. On Saturday, he headlines Mighty, bringing an old-school NYC house vibe alongside another New York DJ, Frankie Feliciano. David Harness, one of the Bay Area's finest house DJs, rounds out the bill with local talent.
The Boombox Affair Day Party at Fat Grape Winery, 1-8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31. Free; fatgrapewinery.com
It's a truism that a party can only ever be as good as its sound system. For the most part this means parties use expensive, professionally tuned club sound systems, but for the Boombox Affair it means getting creative. True to its name, the Boombox Affair is boombox-only — a whole array of vintage boomboxes linked up to a single DJ rig, which both looks and sounds better than you might imagine. Helmed by Larry Gonnello Jr., a whole bevy of local DJs (residents from Direct to Earth, Housepitality, and others) will be spinning on this rig at Treasure Island's Fat Grape Winery. There's no cover and, bonus, a lot of wine.
Honey Soundsystem Labor Day featuring Chris Cruse at BeatBox, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 31. $15; beatboxsf.com.
Labor Day means no work on Monday, which means another quarterly Sunday blowout from Honey Soundsystem, San Francisco's most forward-thinking queer party. Four times a year, whenever Monday is an official holiday, Honey focuses on their resident DJs (Jason Kendig, Robot Hustle, Josh Cheon, and Jackie House), who will man the booth at BeatBox, spinning techno, house, disco, Italo, and everything in between until the wee hours of Monday morning. This time they're joined by Chris Cruse, one of the powers that be behind LA's Spotlight parties.