Ah, summer in San Francisco. There's nothing like those long, foggy days paired with the cold, windy nights, and the fact that it so desperately wants to rain but it just never will. I kid, I kid — summer in San Francisco might not be like summer in any other city, but it does have its delights indeed. Like outdoor parties, for example — they're a long-running tradition, with roots running deep into the history of the Bay Area rave scene. They're hard to come by these days (with the exception of costly music festivals), but there are still a handful of folks making it happen like in the old days.
Enter the As You Like It Picnic at Golden Gate Park: An annual event now in its fifth year, it takes place in Golden Gate Park's lovely Glen Elk Meadow, a wide-open picnic area right off of Lincoln Avenue between 21st and 24th avenues. It's a proper outdoor party with a full-spectrum sound system, shade structures to keep cool, and a great lineup, headlined this year by Santa Cruz-based acid techno duo Antacid Crew. If that name is unfamiliar, it's because the two keep a low profile and have no official releases, a fact that belies just how fantastic they are; they're in their element when performing live, unleashing an unending acid techno jam that seems to go on forever. Their sound is all-hardware and no-frills, like something unearthed from early techno history. Its simplicity is in fact what makes it so good — there's not a single moment wasted.
They're joined by As You Like It resident DJ Rich Korach and Michael Perry of the Play monthly party at the EndUp, who will be providing warm outdoor grooves until the evening hours. A couple things to note: This party is free, but donations are strongly encouraged (see As You Like It's Facebook page for details), and this party takes place in a public park, not a club — so be on your best behavior. Now get outside and rave in the sun!
Other worthy parties this week
Club Lonely at OMG, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, June 20. $5; clubomgsf.com
Are you human? Do you need to be loved, just like everybody else does? There's a club you could visit — where you could meet somebody who really loves you — and it's called Club Lonely. It's new to the scene, a couple of months old, and it's a more-or-less-straight night at the mostly-gay club OMG on Sixth Street, which has a small, sweaty, and intimate dancefloor that sits underneath a dome, which lends it a peculiarly regal feeling. Club Lonely doesn't feature guest DJs; instead, it's residents playing house music of all stripes: DJ Primo, perhaps the city's hardest-working DJ (veteran of Oldies Night, Slow Jams at Make Out Room, 2 Men Will Move You, and many more); Jeremy Castillo, a Bay Area native and old-school house head; and Vin Sol, one of the city's most talented producers who's starting to get well-deserved international shine. Go on your own — maybe dance with someone else — and you might not just go home and cry and want to die.
Bodyshock presents High Functioning Flesh, Vandalaze, and Cube at Elbo Room, 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday, June 18. $7; elboroomsf.com
Bodyshock is an irregularly occurring club night dedicated to the sound of EBM (electronic body music), new beat, and dancefloor-friendly industrial music, genres that flourished in the late '80s but have remained niche sounds ever since. However, EBM seems to be experiencing something of a renaissance: Front 242 (the genre's flagship artist) is touring the U.S., marquee German techno DJs openly discuss EBM's influence on their sound, and a new generation of bands is putting its own twist on the sound. High-Functioning Flesh, a duo from L.A., is at the forefront of the nascent EBM revival; it is unabashedly retro (or derivative, depending on your point of view), sounding almost like a time capsule buried in 1989. The live performances are brilliant, capturing the energetic, fists-in-the-air anthemic quality of the best EBM. It is joined by Vandalaze, a funky synth-pop act, and Cube, an East Bay artist who produces remarkably kinetic noisescapes, with Bodyshock DJs keeping the beat in between.
Modular presents Oliver Schories and more at Harlot, 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday, June 18. $10-$15; harlotsf.com
Electronic music has always encompassed two spheres: the mainstream and the underground. Though they've assumed different shapes over the years, both have always existed in tandem, each feeding off the other in their own way. It's rare for artists to be able to have one foot in both camps, but in the past few years, a handful of producers have been able to do just that, focusing on a melodic, accessible sound while maintaining an underground sensibility. Oliver Schories, a young German producer and DJ, is one of this new school, producing warm tech-house that's comfortably melodic, easy to get into, and glossy, but at the same time is understated enough that his appeal reaches beyond the mainstream. He's embarked on a world tour in support of his new album, Fields Without Fences, and is making a pit stop at Harlot on Thursday evening alongside Modular residents Pedro Arbulu, Charlemagne, and Fritz Carlton.
Surface Tension featuring SHXCXCHCXSH and Russell Butler at F8, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, June 19. $15-$20; feightsf.com
No, that's not a long, awkward typo. SHXCXCHCXSH is the chosen pseudonym for a pair of Swedish gentlemen who have quickly and quietly taken the techno world by storm — and even a little bit beyond, considering their last album, Linear S Decoded, received a favorable Pitchfork review. They check off all the “modern techno” boxes — they're anonymous (even going so far as to wear hoods on stage), they press white label records, and they're heavily steeped in industrial influences. But what separates them from the pack is that their music, bleak as it may be, is remarkably melodic and emotional, connecting on a human level that much similarly-minded techno simply doesn't. Joining them is Russell Butler, an Oakland-based modular synth wizard whose profile has been steadily rising on the heels of a new release on cult U.K. label Opal Tapes. Meanwhile, the Surface Tension resident DJs (full disclosure: your humble party columnist is one of them) will be selecting heavy dancefloor fodder well into the wee hours.