This weekend might not have anything fancy like Outside Lands attached to it, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't find some reason to go out and enjoy the nightlife. If you don't have a good excuse, then allow us to provide you with five good ones in the form of this modest list of suggested events. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16. $20
As technology pushes forward, it moves DJ culture with it. Over the past 10 years, digital spinning has moved into the mainstream, prompting many DJs to ditch their CD players and vinyl turntables in favor of laptops and controllers that enable them to execute previously demanding tasks with the touch of a button. It sounds great, but in practice, laptop sets often feel lifeless, and lack the human improvisation that analog allowed. Still, some artists are exploring the improvisatory dimensions of digital DJing. Among them is Alex Botwin, the Colorado-based EDM producer who records under the alias Paper Diamond (check out his dancefloor anthem "Can We Go Up").
Botwin's equipment of choice is an iPad connected to a computer running the music production software Ableton Live. But whereas many of his peers are simply content to push play, he prefers to mix and match on the fly, pulling snippets from his wide body of work into the mix. He manipulates these via a special software on his iPad, which lets him cue songs and alter them with special effects, like delays. In addition, his iPad also controls a second computer that triggers videos and lighting patterns for each individual audio element, effectively giving him the ability to improvise an entire nightlife experience. "My show is improvised every night," he told YourEDM. "All my clips, from everything that I've ever [recorded], is in the Ableton file, and there's corresponding video clips. I can program them in any order and trigger different pieces and turn them on or turn them off." Asked why he prefers improvisation, his response is simple: "It's more fun."
This approach fits well with Botwin's discography. He got his start playing bass in Pnumia Trio, an electronic jam band in the vein of Sound Tribe Sector 9. His solo music since then has touched on a number of stylistic cues: Paragon, his latest EP, is equal parts indie dance, big room EDM, downbeat hip-hop, and heavy-hitting trap. That might sound like an incongruous jumble, but it all comes together live -- or at least it should when he plays 1015 Folsom this Friday alongside local hip-hop sensation Roach Gigz.
9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15. $18-$23
Though he's best known for starting LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy has long been an excellent DJ. Throughout the '00s, he was behind the Special Disco Version parties in New York, sweaty affairs that helped reconnect the new millennium to the spirit of old New York's gay underground. Today he keeps that spirit alive with sets that stylishly refashion the past. Watch his Boiler Room set.
9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17. $10-$20
Mash-ups may not be as popular as they once were, but that's hardly affected Bootie. The long-running weekly pulls some of the largest crowds in the city by offering a mind-blowing spectacle built around the concept of mixing two songs together. This week Bootie steps into its 10th year with a four-room party featuring live bands, burlesque, and a boatload of DJs.
9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16. $10-$20
In case you haven't noticed, Mist is no more. In its place is a new venture called Audio Discotech, a '70s Cadillac-themed spot that occupies the second floor of the 11th Street building. The grand opening is this weekend, and it'll feature New York pop-EDM spinner David Carvalho as the first to christen the club's brand-new Funktion-One soundsystem.
9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16. $20-$30
Chicago house is the kind of dance music that thrives in subterranean locales. That makes Monarch's underground dancefloor an ideal location for this Friday's event, when Windy City heavyweight Derrick Carter (listen to his Boiler Room mix) teams up with Mark Farina for a night of jacked-out rhythms, frantic energy, and smooth mixes.