Over the past year, Sure Thing has assembled a bevy of creative, genre-bending lineups in San Francisco (and Los Angeles, its new home). Tapping on techno, house, industrial, and experimental flavors, Sure Thing's lineups have tended to orbit around Detroit and Bristol, two cities with similar-but-different rich histories of geographical scenes — techno, electro, and deep house in Detroit, and dub, jungle, and dubstep in Bristol. To celebrate its one-year anniversary, the party's organizers have gone all out, bringing a slew of debuts to San Francisco for a two-day blowout at F8.
Friday night, Nov. 27, kicks things off with a showcase from renowned experimental and left-field techno label PAN, featuring label boss Bill Kouligas and the debut performance of rising star M.E.S.H. Over the past seven years, Kouligas has built his record label, PAN, into one of the world's foremost destinations for avant-garde electronic music, featuring a dizzying range of sounds and artists. There's computer music and musique concrète, strange, off-kilter techno and house, and various permutations of bass music, which may all feature in Kouligas' DJ set in some way. Then comes M.E.S.H., who crafts heavy, dystopian soundscapes out of percussion flying every which way. Interstellar Funk, a rising Dutch DJ, will close out the night with an extended house and techno set. (And I, your humble party columnist aka DJ CZ, will open the night.)
Day two features a slew of debut performances from all over the world: Hodge brings his twisted techno and post-dubstep out from Bristol, U.K.; Tzu Sing and his industrial-techno-EBM comes to SF across the Pacific, from Taipei, Taiwan; 214, from Seattle, will come packing a techno-electro DJ set; and Szare, a British techno artist with a real fondness for broken beats, will perform live. Taken as a whole, it's a remarkably ambitious affair in its breadth and scope — and that's precisely why you shouldn't miss it.
Public Works & Dax presents The Martinez Brothers at Public Works, 9:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 27. $20; publicsf.com
Explaining the meteoric rise of The Martinez Brothers, who began playing New York City clubs when they were just 16- and 19-years-old and have since gone on to become Ibiza mainstays, is simple: They embody the spirit of New York house music. Born and raised in the Bronx, the Brothers grew up in a musical household and began DJing in their tweens. They take cues from NYC legends like Paradise Garage's Larry Levan or the Strictly Rhythm crew, but they're just as likely to play deep house tunes from 2015 as they are Kerri Chandler from 1993 or disco classics from 1979. They mix deeper, aloof tracks with big-room crowd pleasers, too, endearing them to underground heads just as much as mainstream clubbers. SF tech-house duo Bells & Whistles opens, while Delta Funk, purveyors of classic house, take over the Loft
Robot Ears presents Len Faki at Mighty, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Nov. 27. $15-$25; mighty119.com
Ostgut Ton, the record label and extended family of artists connected with Berlin super-club Berghain, is having quite the banner year. Berghain's profile is higher than ever, regularly used as synecdoche for the world of underground dance music by those who don't know anything else about it, and Ostgut Ton's most well-known artists, like Marcel Dettmann, are ruling the roost. Len Faki is one of Ostgut's lesser-known artists, but that's not for lack of talent. The German producer and DJ's credits run back to the mid '90s; he is, assuredly, one of the world's most reliable producers of “DJ tools” — industry jargon for techno tracks designed purely for the dancefloor. Listen to them and you'll know why — his productions are all muscle, with heavyweight percussion and driving synths. This marks his second appearance in SF; Robot Ears residents Javier Fabian, Louiv, and John Kaberna will open.
Studio 3AM presents Anaamnesis Release Party with Bleie, Cherushii, and more at Underground SF, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Nov. 27. $5; undergroundsf.com
Studio 3AM occurs every third Friday at Underground SF, featuring producers and DJs from the extended 3AM Devices crew, a mostly-digital (the party released its first 12-inch this year) tech-house and techno label based here in San Francisco. This time around the party is celebrating the release of “Anaamnesis,” a new tune courtesy of local producer Bleie. It's a lovely, dreamy track — girded by a solid techno thump, it features a moody, swinging synthesizer that harks back to the days of “intelligent techno” yore. There's a spate of remixes included as well, from locals Cherushii, Blue Soul, and Menage A Moi; Cherushii's is the standout, properly raving up the original with a cut-up breakbeat and piano stabs. All of these aforementioned artists will be performing live sets, too, with the exception of Cherushii, on DJ duty. If you've found yourself wanting to explore San Francisco's local electronic music, this is a fine place to start.
As You Like It featuring Nick Höppner, Cherushii, and more at Monarch, 9:30 p.m.-4 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 28. $10-$20; monarchsf.com
This weekend, there's not one, but two key Ostgut Ton artists visiting San Francisco. (Just another weekend in SF, you know.) Until two years ago, Nick Höppner was the man behind the reins of the Ostgut Ton record label, managing all its operations. He's also, of course, a DJ and producer, and has been part of the Ostgut family since the beginning. Unlike others in the Ostgut roster who produce and DJ pounding, heavy techno, Höppner is a DJ who appreciates subtlety — the tracks he selects tend to be nebulous, interstitial ones that can't easily be pinned down as “techno” or “house” — and that's why he's one of Ostgut's most interesting figures. Also on board is SF producer Cherushii, who has been producing gorgeous rave-flavored house music for some time now; she's one of the Bay's finest live performers. Peerless selector Tyrel Williams joins Mike Gushansky on warmup duty.