Well, it's February, and you know what that means: Valentine's Day is rapidly approaching. Yet, while the floral industry's favorite holiday lies on the horizon, that's no excuse for staying in, drinking wine, and "watching movies." Truth is that this weekend has quite a few options for those invested in the rhythm of the night. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
Friday, Feb. 10
When: 8 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Why: Few DJ crews are as emblematic of San Francisco's '90s rave boom as Wicked Sound System. Now long dead as a collective, two of the group's core members have been keeping the spirit alive. Those DJs are local legends Garth and Jeno, and their party is called Back2Back. Friday marks the seventh anniversary of the event, and to celebrate, they're getting back into the vibe of San Francisco's hippie days by keeping the party cheap. It's totally free before 11 p.m. and just $7 afterwards. For a taste of the evening, check out this recent appearance by the duo on WNYU's Beats in Space radio program.
When: 9 p.m. - 6 a.m.
Why: No weekend in San Francisco would be complete without an all-night techno party. This week's fare comes courtesy of the tastefully curated As You Like It, with extended sets from two leading figures on the European techno scene. Peter Van Hoesen has been producing techno in his native Belgium since the aggressive days of the early '90s. Releases on labels like Foton, Ostgut Ton, and Time to Express (his own label) have garnered him a reputation as a killer programmer of hard and dubbed-out Berlin-style techno. Listen to this recent mix he did for Taiwanese podcast Smoke Machine. As if that wasn't enough, Van Hoesen's set will be augmented with the first San Francisco performance from Italian techno producer Lucy. Now a resident of Berlin, Lucy's garnered a large amount of press for his avant-garde Stroboscopic Artefacts label, complex productions, and bombastic mixes.
Saturday, Feb. 11
Where: Elbo Room
When: 10 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Why: Tormenta Tropical, the city's most consistently inconsistent party, returns with one of its most juxtaposed bookings in recent memory. First up is DJ Dus, an electro-cumbia DJ from Corpus Christi who promises to stay close to the party's Latin roots. Productions like "K Le Pasa" show off his aggressive style, which blends traditional cumbia percussion with fat electro basslines and superheavy French touch-style filters. Also scheduled to perform is Brian Shimkovitz from New York's Awesome Tapes from Africa, a blog and roadshow that focuses on obscure sounds originally released on African cassette tapes. True to that premise, Shimkovitz will be DJing (CJing?) on cassette for a set that promises to be unique in a very literal sense. Check out this video interview Shimkovitz did for FADER TV last year, and be sure to grab some sounds off his always-fascinating blog.
When: 9:30 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Why: Glasglow's most notorious DJ duo returns to San Francisco for another madcap evening. This time, Optimo is set for an upgrade in sound quality as it takes the reigns at Monarch, the city's brand-new audiophile hotspot. Legendary in its native U.K., Optimo is the combined product of DJs JD Twitch and JG Wilkes. They specialize in a wild and crazy style that manages to construct a witty and cohesive whole from wry post-punk, '88 acid house, non-goth industrial, and plenty of other hyper-specific genres we could pretend to make up. Get a feel for their sound by listening to this classic essential mix the duo did for BBC radio. If last time is anything to go by, this one ought to be good.