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Thursday, April 5, 2012

S.F. Techno Party Kontrol Will Bring the Beat to an End After 7 Years

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 1:36 PM

click to enlarge The flyer for this weekend's Kontrol party.
  • The flyer for this weekend's Kontrol party.

Some sad news for local dance fans this week: Kontrol, the monthly party that has held sway over the city's techno and minimal scene for seven years, will stop throwing regular events this June.

Its first Saturdays club nights have been a draw for local techno fans since the party opened in 2005 at the now-shuttered RX Gallery. In 2007, Kontrol moved to the Endup in SOMA, which has been its home ever since.

The final Kontrol will be June 2. After a break, the organizers of the party plan to produce one-off parties, and there's talk of podcasts or of releasing some of the live sets organizers have recorded over the years. But Kontrol as it's known will be over.

"It's a combination of us losing our gusto for it, things becoming more difficult with the Endup, all of us needing a rest, and needing to something different," says Greg Bird, who started Kontrol in 2005 with DJs Sammy D, Alland Byallo, Craig Kuna, and Nikola Baytala.

Bird, now 40, says he never intended to become a party promoter. He "reluctantly" started Kontrol at a time when there wasn't a place in S.F. where people like him -- fans of "weird minimal German shit" -- could gather to hear DJs play the music they liked.

Seven years later, that's changed dramatically. The Bay Area club scene has experienced a renaissance in the last few years, and there are other promoters putting together techno shows in the city. Bird believes Kontrol can take some of the credit for that.

"It's been gratifying to see some other groups that are taking chances with bookings they might not have done 5 years ago or 7 years ago," he says. "The scene now for techno is thriving, and for dance music in general in the city."

Looking back, Bird is proud to have brought artists like Isolee, Alex Smoke, Modeselektor, Seth Troxler, D. Diggler, and Galoppierende Zuversicht to S.F. at a time when many believed such bookings weren't viable. He notes that Kontrol's very first party had sold out by midnight.

"At the time, those shows were struggling to get a crowd," he says.

Bird and the party's DJs are moving on to other things, but it's not over yet for fans of Kontrol: It returns to the EndUp this Saturday with U.K. artists the Revenge and 6th Borough Project. And Bird promises that the next two months' bookings will see Kontrol go out with a bang.

"I'm pretty sure it will be remembered fondly as an event that brought a lot of people together, exposed them to amazing new music, and energized the musical climate here in S.F., paving the way for many groups and events since," he says.

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