Heads-up! It's almost Friday, are you ready for fun? Don't answer that, because even if you are, we've got another full round-up of parties for you to look through. This time around we're keeping things no-nonsense, simple, and streamlined, with some sure-shot events you wont want to miss. So, read on your weekend awaits.
Sunday, June 9. 12 p.m. $15-$20
San Francisco in the early '90s carries a mythological weight when it comes to electronic dance music, and for good reason. Those were the days when raving was young, the music was fresh, and the city was cheap. Today, the legacy of that time lives on in some of the city's best known party crews. One of them is Pacific Sound, an entity that got its start in '94 with "Sunset," a free-spirited afternoon rave in the Berkeley Marina. Long gone from its original digs, it still keeps the old vibe alive by throwing events in unusual, appealing locations. Its latest, dubbed "Sunset Island," marks the party's fifth annual appearance at the spectacular-view-endowed Great Lawn on Treasure Island.
Sunset throws an old-school party for old-school people; all the music on offer this weekend is exclusively composed of artists from the American Midwest. There are three headliners, with Detroit duo Octave One (aka brothers Lenny and Lawrence Burden) taking the prime slot. Skirting the line between classic Motor City techno and jazzy futuristic house, their many tracks together, such as "Black Water" and "I Believe," are widely considered modern dancefloor classics. They are not DJs; their live sets are improvisatory jams played from a huge array of synths and gadgets.
From there, the afternoon promises to explore more purist strains of four-to-the-floor club music. Repping Chicago is Tevo Howard, the veteran house spinner whose soulful yet sparse take on the style recalls '80s Windy City greats like Mr. Fingers and Virgo 4. As a selector he's a revered figure: though he only began producing in 2007, he's been mixing records since the late-'80s, which -- if you know about Chicago's backbiting DJ scene -- means he's got some serious turntable chops. Check out his excellent XLR8R podcast.
Finally, rounding things out is Minneapolis techno icon DVS1 (aka Zak Khutoretsky). Though his hometown might not be as well known when it comes to electronic dance music, his stripped-down, raw techno -- as heard on releases for Ben Klock's Klockworks label and Derrick May's Transmat -- has made him a regular fixture at Berlin's exclusive Berghain nightclub (listen to this recent two hour live mix).
As usual, the proceedings will be centered around the DJ sets of longtime local heroes Galen, Solar, and J-Bird. Yet like all Sunset events, music won't be the only thing on offer. The crew has arranged for a selection of food trucks that includes Señor Sisig, Mr. Nice, Eat Fuki, and Magic Curry Kart. Add it all up and you have a party worthy of the Bay Area's storied rave heritage (not to mention the tricky journey out to Treasure Island).
Thursday, June 6. 9 p.m. $16.50
Virtual reality by way of sonic manipulation -- that's a good way of thinking about the warmly spun acoustic worlds of Axel Willner (aka The Field). Like an electronic My Bloody Valentine, his albums tour through smeared emotions and synthetic soundscapes. Live, he expands on that metaphor by performing as a trio with bass guitar and drum accompaniment. Listen to "Looping State of Mind," the title track from his most recent LP.
Friday, June 7. 10 p.m. $20
We're a far cry from hip-hop's sample-filled glory days, but Los Angeles producer Madlib (aka Otis Jackson Jr.) has kept the torch alive after all these years. Like those who came before him, he's a sample-obsessed loop-digger, whose recorded works and DJ sets pull from an encyclopedic knowledge of all forms of funky music, past and present. Listen to this classic mix, Beat Konducta in Africa.
Friday, June 7. 9:30 p.m. $13-$20
Two headliners are better than one when it comes to Public Works' latest nightlife offering. This Friday, the bi-level nightclub offers a sonic bridge between the sympathetic house scenes of San Francisco and Frankfurt. All night, local selector Mark Farina and German import Roman Flügel will trade turns slinging tasteful four-to-the-floor jams in the upstairs loft and the downstairs main room. Check out these mixes: one from Flügel, one from Farina.
Saturday, June 8. 9 p.m. $5-$8
For the past year, The Chase has offered a visually rich alternative to conventional San Francisco nightlife. Taking cues from the contemporary art world, it offers a playground of floor-to-ceiling digital media projections soundtracked by the quirky cool selections of rising outsider house producers like Bobby Browser, Panavision, and Austin Cesear (all of whom are on deck to guest its first anniversary this Saturday).