Although many Americans might not know it, South Africa has enjoyed a thriving house music scene for decades. House music found its way to Cape Town early in the '90s, and South Africans adopted it passionately and intensely — house music became the soundtrack for a generation of young people who, with the shackles of apartheid suddenly cast away, were experiencing freedom, and all the struggles and pleasures that come along with it, for the first time.
In the process, South Africa became something of a house music nation, and Black Coffee sits at the top of it. Born Nkosinathi Maphumulo (just Nathi for short), he is South Africa's biggest star, and perhaps one of the most widely known African musicians outside of all of Africa. Listen to his productions and it's easy to understand why: They're imbued with spirit and a flourish for keen songwriting few of his peers can match. Warm, soulful, and often featuring vocalists, Black Coffee's productions simply feel more musical than a good deal of American house music. That's not a knock against the machine-centric sound of most American (or European) house music, of course — but Black Coffee's sound is refreshingly unique, sounding a good deal more organic than most house music you'll find coming from our shores.
When he's DJing, Black Coffee tends to focus on his own productions, with a heaping helping of tunes from other African producers to round it out (in other words, tunes you're not particularly likely to hear elsewhere). He's slated to play an extended set (three hours — or maybe more), while L.A.-based DJ Goldcap will be on supporting duties.
Other worthy parties this week
Summer Soul Roller Disco feat. Midnight Magic and Chris Orr at Mezzanine, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, June 13. $10-$20; mezzaninesf.com
Ah, the '70s. Polyester suits, hairy chests, tight jeans, pet rocks, spaghetti westerns, muscle cars, and of course — disco. The quintessential sound of the 1970s, disco never died (despite the efforts of certain American radio DJs and music journalists), and, in fact, is perhaps the most enduring cultural product of that macho, maximalist time in American history. Mezzanine's new disco party adds a funky throwback twist: rollerskates. The grand tradition of the roller disco is back — avid skaters can bring their own wheels, while new skaters may rent a pair from the club — and music comes courtesy of Midnight Magic, the DFA Records supergroup with a glossy, nu-disco sound, while veteran local DJ Chris Orr will provide vintage selections from his broad collection of classic disco and garage tunes. Skating-averse folks shouldn't feel discouraged, either, as a portion of Mezzanine's dancefloor and its upstairs will remain rollerskate-free, allowing everyone to get in on the action.
Vinyl Dreams Two-Year Anniversary at Vinyl Dreams, noon-9 p.m. Saturday, June 13. Free; vinyldreams.com
Record stores have it tough these days. Between the prevalence of internet mailorder and the explosion of streaming and digital media, record shops have had to deal with steadily declining sales by retooling their business model, or closing. In spite of this, some small shops have managed to stay afloat by focusing on tightly curated inventory and A-plus customer service — like Vinyl Dreams, a record shop in the Lower Haight focused on techno, house, disco, and beyond now celebrating its second anniversary by throwing a day-to-evening party featuring an array of San Francisco's best DJs (complete lineup to be announced). The shop is small but has an excellent sound system and DJ booth (vinyl only — naturally) and, with shelving moved to the shop's edges, hosts a cozy dancefloor, too. Come prepared to boogie and buy — expect sales and deals to be had, and the store's stock of dance music is perhaps the finest in the city.
WERD. On The Street feat. Monty Luke at The Midway, Sunday, June 14. $10; themidwaysf.com
For eight years now, weekly party WERD. has done its thing just about every Sunday night, hosting a house-and-techno-centric family affair that has launched a number of international DJ careers and hosted a dizzying amount of guests. Three years ago, it launched an annual block party, appropriately called “WERD. On The Street,” featuring outdoor dancing and grooving until the sun went down, when the party moved indoors till the wee hours. This year, it's moving to a new location — The Midway, an enormous new space (or “creative complex,” per the venue — it's actually multiple venues under one roof) with an outdoor patio, bar, and dancefloor. Special guest DJ Monty Luke joins this year, a Brooklyn-turned-Detroiter who produces big, bouncy deep house, with his own vocals often featured. Also on deck are all the WERD. resident DJs, free barbecue (while it lasts), and your first chance to check out one of San Francisco's newest dancefloors. Not bad for a Sunday.
Housepitality featuring Sven Weisemann, David Siska, and DJ Sep at F8, Wednesday June 17. Free before 10 p.m. with RSVP, $10 after; feightsf.com
Every Wednesday, Housepitality takes over F8 and throws one of the city's most crackin' parties — focused generally on American house music (given the name), but frequently reaching well beyond. Take next week's headliner, Sven Weisemann, for instance — the German DJ, producer, and composer has been active since the mid-2000s, but keeps a low profile, letting his records (and DJ sets) speak for themselves. Chiefly affiliated with Berlin record label Mojuba, Weisemann is one of those Europeans who takes a great deal of inspiration from vintage house and techno from Chicago and Detroit, but works in his own dreamy, Continental twist on the sound. His DJ sets run the gamut — he's just as fond of melodic, spiritual deep house as he is muscular, heavyweight techno, often mixing in both during a single set. Local selector David Siska, a Chicago transplant with staggering knowledge of techno reaching back decades, will open the main floor, while DJ Sep, the brains behind the long-running weekly Dub Mission, will chant to Jah in the back room.