The only thing worse than a DJ who can't read a crowd is a DJ who can't even read an empty room. Too often I'll waltz into a club or bar, usually during happy hour, with nary a patron in sight, only to find a lonely DJ blaring techno at deafening decibels, or spinning tunes at tweaker-friendly speeds to a vacant dance floor. But at Pink (formerly Liquid), DJ Franky Boissy can read and sway just about any number on hand with his deep house at "Better Days." If he finds a mere smattering of people in the place, the music is soft and complementary. If he sees the dance floor is packed, he has patrons bouncing off the walls. Boissy goes on with equally perceptive resident DJs Lady Lastar, Cindy, and Dereck Grant starting at 10 p.m. every Saturday; call 431-8889 or visit www.pinksf.com.
-- Brock Keeling
Is it a club, or is it Memorex? Who's to say? The Hemlock Tavern's popular and long-running "Punk Rock Sideshow" pumps out the bitter, sullen songs of rage that mimic the mix tape you so painstakingly recorded in college for that girlfriend of yours who had just dumped your depressing ass. Resident DJs Tragic and the Duchess of Hazzard bang out a night's worth of minimal, at times surprisingly lively punk tunes from the '70s and '80s, bringing you back to that bygone era of safety pins as accessories and alienation as the norm. The best part of "Sideshow," though, is that it's free -- because a true punk aficionado can't afford a bar of Ivory soap, much less some goddamn bourgeois, capitalistic cover charge. The fun starts at 8 every Monday night; call 923-0923 or visit www.hemlocktavern.com.
-- Brock Keeling