For many, the highlight of this weekend’s festivities will be Outside Lands, the sprawling music festival now in its sixth iteration that takes over most of Golden Gate Park. As the popularity of electronic music in America’s musical consciousness has grown ever larger, Outside Lands’ lineups have accommodated this slant by adding token EDM artists and DJs — this year, for instance, features Tiësto, a Dutchman perhaps best known for being the world’s most highly paid DJ, according to Forbes, a fact which brings the veracity of the maxim “you get what you pay for” into serious question.
For those seeking a more authentic rave experience, Outside Lands does not have much to offer. Fortunately, over the past several years, a cottage industry of Outside Lands afterparties has sprung up, providing the opportunity to continue the party into the wee hours, long after the festival stages close up shop.
If you’re going to pick just one such afterparty, make it Friday night’s affair, hosted by Lights Down Low at Mezzanine. Headlining the party are Breach and Shit Robot — two very different artists who share the common goal of making dance music that’s easily accessible without being mindless.
Breach hails from Bristol, the capital of Britain’s “bass music” scene, so-called for its embrace of big, wobbly, impossible-to-ignore bass rhythms, which borrow without prejudice from dubstep, UK garage, drum’n’bass and grime. (It’s no surprise, then, that one of Breach’s latest EPs is on San Francisco’s own Dirtybird, Claude Von Stroke’s label, itself a progenitor of seriously big-time basslines.)
Sharing the stage is Shit Robot, an Irishman who happened to make the acquaintance of a certain Mr. James Murphy some ten-odd years ago, right as LCD Soundsystem and DFA Records were getting started. Since then he’s released numerous singles and EPs on DFA, combining the rollicking groove of classic disco with the brash guitars of indie rock, exposing a whole generation of kids who grew up listening to The Flaming Lips and Yo La Tengo to the joys of dance music.
Lights Down Low resident partymonsters Richie Panic and Sizemore will be providing DJ support all night long. If you’re planning on hitting Outside Lands this year — and even if you’re not, since this party’s $15 admission sure beats a $250 wristband — make sure you make this your Friday evening entertainment.
If you were listening to techno in the 1990s, you know John Digweed — he and his erstwhile DJ partner Sasha essentially invented the commercially-available mix CD, culminating in their wildly successful series of Global Underground mix CDs, which made the sounds of nightclubs around the world available to any and all. Digweed made his name DJing “progressive house,” a chord-heavy, melodic ancestor to what is now commonly referred to as tech-house. His sound is unabashedly “big room” — designed for huge clubs and packed dancefloors — so whereas subtlety may not be the name of the game here, Digweed is nonetheless a passionate and talented DJ, one of the few who has been in the game for decades.
San Francisco’s biggest little dance party returns for its August iteration with resident DJs Primo and Jordan. At its best, 2 Men Will Move You is a fogged-out crowded sweatbox full of attractive people in varying states of intoxication, some of whom seem to have no idea what they’re doing at a dance party (Amnesia’s prime Valencia location attracts the hoi polloi) while others stomp and twirl towards the front of the stage. The soundtrack is always top-notch, an effortless blend of classic house with modern banging techno, all mixed on vinyl. Compared to its peers, 2 Men might not have the fanciest clothes or drive the newest car, but it knows how to get down and dirty, and that’s precisely why it’s so much fun, time after time.
Friends with Benefits Records presents Jenö, Carlos Souffront, Gay Marvine & More
Saturday August 9 — F8 — $10 presale, $12 at the door — 10 p.m.-4 a.m.
Friends With Benefits Records, a queer-friendly San Francisco record label focusing on new house and techno sounds, is hosting a release party for their new record from Hard Ton, an Italian duo who craft modern disco and hi-NRG with a contemporary house flavor. FWB has assembled a number of San Francisco’s most storied DJs to celebrate the record release: Jenö, surely one of the city’s longest-working DJs, whose Wicked parties have long captured the city’s attention; Carlos Souffront, a Detroit transplant with a legendary collection of acid techno and house; and Gay Marvine, another Detroiter with a long career of playing queer parties on both coasts. Trevor Sigler and Two Dudes In Love will be providing support.
Pulse Generator is one of a number of techno-centric parties at Underground SF, a venue in the Lower Haight with a cozy dancefloor and an excellent soundsystem. The featured guests this time around are Alex Windsor, an old-school techno DJ with a long history of throwing parties in the Bay Area. Joining him is Dima, a founding member of Tekno Kitchen, producing underground events in venues around San Francisco. Expect proper techno of all stripes: minimal techno, dub techno, acid techno — as long as the beat is driving and the synths are throbbing, you’ll hear it here.