It's official: Honey Soundsystem has made it. What began as an effort to lift the Castro's gay club scene out of the mire of Top 40s tedium has become a legendary Sunday night weekly party, featuring guests from all throughout the house and techno underground. Their New Year's Eve bashes have become something of an annual tradition, and this time around, all four Honey boys are back in San Francisco with an assortment of selectors from the “new gay American underground” — also known as some of America's best DJs, working to reconnect dance music with its queer roots.
The guests in question come to our fair city from all across the country, with a strong Midwestern focus: Harry Cross and Jacob Meehan come from Chicago, where they run and DJ the “sleazy underground” party Men's Room; Jason Kendig, Honey resident, recently relocated to Chicago; and Carlos Souffront, who is based in San Francisco, hails from Detroit. The East Coast is well-represented, too, courtesy of Ryan Smith, ambassador of New York City duo Wrecked, and Aaron Clark, promoter and resident DJ at Honcho, the notorious Pittsburgh after-hours party-cum-gay bath-house (or so says VICE). Honey residents — Kendig, plus Jackie House, Josh Cheon, and Bézier — are also on deck duty.
There isn't quite a unifying sound here — you're just as likely to hear vintage disco, tacky diva house, or classic Detroit deep house as you are to hear jacking techno, EBM and industrial. In fact, the overarching theme of Honey's parties is pride — in their queer identity, certainly, but more importantly, in dance music, specifically American dance music, and all its storied histories, traditions, scenes, and sounds. Attending a Honey Soundsystem party feels like signing your name on a love letter addressed to American dance music, and that's why they're like no other.
Last but not least, Honey Soundsystem's production values have always been off the charts, especially in terms of visuals, and this NYE bash looks to up the ante beyond anything they've done yet. Plus, the party runs till 6 a.m. If excellent music and a dancefloor that's crowded, sweaty, and respectful is what you're after this New Year's Eve, Honey is right for you.
Club Lonely New Year's Eve at Club OMG, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 31. $10 before 11:30 p.m., $20 after; clubomgsf.com
As the boys of Club Lonely put it, prepare for their “final tragedy of 2015.” If you haven't encountered them at one of their many parties of 2015, Club Lonely is the new collective nom de fête for three talented San Francisco selectors: DJ Primo, the hardest working DJ in the city; Vin Sol, producer of hard-hitting drum tracks and ghetto-house extraordinaire; and Jeremy Castillo, a young DJ with a taste for freestyle and hard-hitting house. They're coming together to host a sleazy New Year's Eve party at their usual spot, Club OMG, a divey club on 6th St. with stiff drinks and an intimate, easily packed dancefloor with a psychedelic dome lurking overhead. The soundtrack — much like the party's vibe and crowd — will be queer-leaning, house- and techno-centric, and more than a bit raunchy. If you're feeling cheap and easy on NYE, Club Lonely is for you.
Simian Mobile Disco (DJ set) and Jay Tripwire at Public Works, 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 31. $45-$60; publicsf.com.
Simian Mobile Disco occupy a rare place in electronic music — they've achieved mainstream success but have managed to maintain underground cred, too. The duo's career began with the now-defunct U.K. band Simian, who launched at the turn of the century, capitalizing on indie rock's steadily rising infatuation with electronic sounds and music (think Radiohead's Kid A). James Ford and James Shaw (responsible for drums and keyboard, respectively) began DJing parties while the band was touring, and hence the Mobile Disco was born. Their debut album, released in 2007, was essentially a collection of electro-house pop songs. Seven years later, their latest, Whorl, features numerous beatless modular synth experiments, and the pop trappings have all but disappeared. They're serious DJs, and they have excellent taste, ringing in the New Year with the finest in modern techno and house. Meanwhile, Vancouver's Jay Tripwire, innovator of the West Coast tech-house sound, takes over upstairs.
It's A New Day Block Party feat. Dusky, DJ Harvey, and more at Mighty, 6 a.m.-3 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1. $20 before 12 p.m.; $25+ after; mighty119.com.
It's a new year and a New Day at Mighty, as a slew of Bay Area party promoters and crews have come together to throw a colossal 21-hour indoor-outdoor block party, featuring British duo Dusky, the legendary DJ Harvey, and San Francisco rising star J. Phlip. They're joined by a slew of local DJs, including the Housepitality crew, who kick things off at 6 a.m., afterparty-style, inside Mighty. At 10 a.m., the party moves outside, featuring big soundsystems, food trucks, and ample seating for the day revellers. DJs from Green Gorilla Lounge, Pink Mammoth, and Sunset Sound System will be selecting tunes, so expect a friendly, house- and disco-heavy vibe, with celebration in mind. After 9 p.m., the party moves back inside Mighty (and its adjoined side venue, Venue 550) to showcase Dusky's U.K. bass-flavored progressive house, J. Phlip's playful tech-house, and Harvey's cosmic disco-slash-acid techno-slash-everything else approach.
The Shuffle Co-Op New Year's Day with Ed Davenport, Yooj, and more at F8, 4 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, January 1. $10-$20; feightsf.com.
If you're sensing a theme in this column, it's that the New Year is all about throwing marathon-length ragers — too much is never enough to bring good tidings for 2016. And if techno is what interests you, The Shuffle Co-Op has you covered, featuring an extended DJ set from Ed Davenport (aka Inland), the Berlin-based artist who operates the revitalized Infrastructure New York record label with Sandwell District's Function. Davenport's early work was very much a reflection of the mid-aughts' minimal craze, but since his move to Berlin in 2008, he's been steadily incorporating the heavier, muscular leanings of contemporary European techno into his sound, balancing it out with playful selections of deep house and even the occasional disco edit. Another Berliner, Yooj, will also be DJing, bringing tech-house vibes. Last but not least, there will be many talented local selectors, including special guest Vin Sol, backed up by Shuffle Co-Op residents.