In 2011, a little party called Haçienda launched at a sleazy gay bar on Larkin Street called Deco Lounge (now called Emperor Norton's Boozeland). The goal was to provide a platform for live electronic music from Bay Area artists. Five years later, after a cease-and-desist from New Order's Peter Hook and a name-change to Haçeteria, they're still at it.
Celebrating their anniversary are a slew of locals (and a formerly local special guest), led by Cherushii, an artist whose breadth of talent is betrayed by her limited discography. Her live set is a beautiful retro-but-contemporary vision of house music that is reverent and rave-y in equal measure. Roche, whose take on house music veers psychedelic, will also play live. On deck duty is Mega_Lo, one of the city's most eclectic DJs, who selects house, freestyle, electro and more. Magic Touch — former San Franciscan, current Angeleno, and a Haç guest since the beginning — will also be DJing alongside the party's residents.
Haçeteria remains a vital showcase for local artists — here's to five more years.
Other Worthy Parties:
Public Works presents Steve Bug and Doubtingthomas at Public Works, 9:30 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Feb. 19. $17-$25; publicsf.com.
Steve Bug is an underdog. He's been around since the beginning (his first record came out in '94, and he began DJing years before), but he's never been subject to press adoration or spotlights like some of his showier peers have. No matter — he's built a life-long career on consistency and pioneering minimal techno, through his own productions and his record label's (Poker Flat), and he's still at it. Lush minimal producer Doubtingthomas plays live, too.
Lights Down Low presents Black Asteroid at Mighty, 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday, Feb. 19. $20; mightysf.club.
Black Asteroid, aka Bryan Black, has built an impressive niche for himself. Never caught without black sunglasses, the artist spent the '90s producing industrial and EBM (as part of haloblack and H3llb3nt), and in the '00s, switched gears towards techno and made a splash as half of duo Motor. Next came Black Asteroid, his solo project, showcasing heavyweight EBM-inflected techno, in which he brings all of his past influences to bear. He's performing live here, techno weaponry in hand.
As You Like It presents Ron Trent and David Harness at Monarch, 9:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20. $15-$20; monarchsf.com.
Deep house simply wouldn't exist if it weren't for Ron Trent. A true original, Trent hails from Chicago and released his first record in 1990. Soon after, he launched a record label, Prescription, with fellow legend Chez Damier. He essentially laid down the blueprint for deep house: long, slow-burning dancefloor burners with warm, soulful, jazzy vibes, Trent and his label set the stage for what was to come. Here, he's playing an extended set alongside Oakland's David Harness.
Stamina presents Skeptical, Method One, and more at F8, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 21. Free; feightsf.com.
Drum & bass has always been the sound of tomorrow. In the '90s, its staccato rhythms seemed hyperreal, a glimpse into a Gibsonian cyberpunk future. Today, drum & bass — sleek, streamlined, breakbeats all but abandoned — feels like the soundtrack to the impending Singularity. Skeptical, a British producer, has amassed a sizable discography of this gleaming, futuristic sound; his music is not so much minimal as economical, in which not a single drumbeat goes wasted. Stamina residents, including Method One, support.
Record Store Spotlight: Vinyl Dreams
At first glance, it's easy to miss Vinyl Dreams. Located in a small basement right where Haight Street meets Steiner Street, its storefront is unassuming and unpretentious. Walk by on certain weeknights, or generally any time on the weekend, however, and you'll notice the party: beats thumping out of the store's soundsystem, DJs picking records and peering outside the shop window, friends and family mingling on the street outside. Welcome to the face of the modern-day record shop.
Vinyl Dreams is helmed by Mike Battaglia (Mike Bee for short), a longtime San Franciscan who has been DJing in the city for over 20 years. Over the past two-plus decades, he's worn many hats: DJ-wise, he was a drum & bass specialist, then he was a pioneer of the U.K. 2-step and garage sound and one of the first to break first-generation British dubstep (back when it was called “sublow”) in SF, and these days, he's a cosmic disco head. He also spent many years working at Amoeba Records, eventually becoming their electronica buyer.
Vinyl Dreams began as an online-only outlet, in partnership with Darren Davis, former owner of long-standing Haight Street record shop Tweekin' (later called Black Pancake). Then came a brief pop-up at Explorist International, and soon Battaglia found himself the sole proprietor, with an opportunity to become a brick-and-mortar business. So began the store's new life.
Over the past decade, the music business has gone topsy-turvy, and record stores have disappeared — or adapted. “Now, there's way too much information, no filter, and you're left to fend for yourself, to find your own path,” Battaglia tells me. “It leaves you drowning in so much information you don't know where to begin. The record store is that content filter.” Indeed, Vinyl Dreams' stock is tightly curated and carefully chosen. “If you're not super into music, iTunes [and other streaming services] work well for you. They have everything you need. But, if you're like many people, and your taste goes beyond that, you'll find yourself roadblocked.”
And while the records are what get people in the door, something else keeps them coming back. “I wanted [the shop] to be a hub for the community. A place where people can hang out, find out about music even if they aren't buying,” he explains. “And it turns out I was right. People were jonesing for this kind of connection with other people. It was a revelation for some — like the younger generation who had never experienced it. I was blown away by how [younger people] responded to this, and we're attracting more and more young folks, discovering this music and the world of vinyl as a thing unto its own. It's this journey of discovery that goes beyond clicking a mouse.”
Vinyl Dreams is small, but thriving — and growing. Battaglia sums up the shop's appeal: “[It's become] a place where people want to congregate, chill, and hang out. Let's talk about music. Let's talk about what we like.”