Hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving break, because this weekend, things are dropping right back into gear. The guiding principle seems to be a strong showing from the new school of house music, with major headliners playing over the course of the entire weekend. But if four-on-the-floor isn't your thing, don't worry -- we've got you covered with a nice dose of good old-fashioned '90s grunge nostalgia. Read on, your weekend awaits.
Friday, Dec. 2
Where: Public Works
When: 9 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Why: With a long list of venues in its wake, Lights Down Low has gone through a lot of changes over the years. It's expanded beyond its humble beginnings at the pre-Turbosound 222 Hyde to become a major player in the hipper side of the city's nightlife. Now, to celebrate the end of 2011, its organizers are throwing a huge party at Public Works with two of the biggest names in contemporary dance music. Benoit & Sergio are the Berlin/Washington D.C.-based duo responsible for such effortlessly propulsive tracks as "Where the Freaks Have No Name", "Let Me Count the Ways," and "Boy Trouble." Their productions -- which have been released on such labels as DFA, Spectral Sound, and Visionquest -- show off a sound that blends the experimentalism and vocal hooks of '80s synth-pop with the dancefloor appeal of contemporary vocal tech house. Also on the bill is Brooklyn-based duo No Regular Play. Affiliated with the highly-respected Wolf + Lamb imprint, its tracks -- like "Doesn't Matter," "Takin' U Back," and "Owe Me" -- are tied together by a slick and funky dancefloor aesthetic that features soulful vocals, live instrumentation, and ubiquitously low-tuned basslines. As if that all wasn't enough, DJ support will be coming from Thee Mike B, Rich Korach, members of Pillowtalk, Sososoon, and Lights Down Low residents Sleazemore and Eli Glad.
When: 10 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Why: This one's for fans of classic underground dance music. Danny Krivit has long been a big name in the New York disco and house scenes. His resumé, which stretches back to the '70s, has seen him DJing at some of New York's most fondly remembered discothèques (including, most importantly, David Mancuso's Loft parties). However, though his resumé is long, he's now known as one-third of canonical N.Y. DJ team Body & Soul (now celebrating its 15th anniversary). Krivit, along with Joe Clausell and François K., started the group (and its now defunct weekly party) back in 1996 as a way to reclaim the spirit lost by the closure of the Paradise Garage in the late '80s. In addition, he's also known as a prolific re-editor and remixer, with releases going back to the mid-'80s on labels like T.D. Records. Check out his version of MFSB's "Love Is the Message" (which has eclipsed the original to become a canonical club record), and "Rock the House," his stuttery tribute to James Brown (and early hip-hop DJing). As a DJ, his style is soulful and varied, characterized by a master's touch for programming and a willingness to step outside genre boundaries for the sake of the party (what else do you expect from a guy who owns over 80,000 records?). To get an idea what he does, check out this short mix he made for Allez-Allez.
Saturday, Dec. 3
Where: The Endup
When: 10 p.m. - 6 a.m.
Why: A weekend in San Francisco wouldn't be complete without at least one techno night. Kontrol is the city's long running and internationally recognized kingpin of the local late-night party scene. With a resident DJ roster that includes such skilled and highly regarded selectors as Nikola Baytala, Sammy D (of Pillow Talk fame), and Craig Kuna, it would be enough on its own without guests. Yet despite this, Kontrol boasts one of the best booking policies for experimental and deep techno in the city. This month the party returns with the debut performance of Romanian producer Cosmin TRG (a.k.a. Cosmin Nicolae). A prolific producer, Nicolae specializes in a sound that hybridizes the broken rhythms of U.K. dubstep and the propulsive drive of Berlin techno (in its many incarnations). Check out his recent Boiler Room mix (with live video footage) to get an idea of what the night will be like. Joining Cosmin for the evening is the Tresor-affiliated Daniel Bell (if you can get a copy, check out his now-classic mix The Button Down Mind of Daniel Bell (Globus Mix Vol. 4) and Munich-based DJ Julietta.
Where: The Knockout
When: 9 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Why: Electronic dance music not your thing? No worries: Debaser, San Francisco's longest running '90s dance party, has got you covered. As the tagline goes, "It's like your favorite compilation of Spike Jonze videos or that one amazing tour with That Dog!" This month, the party returns with a special holiday edition dedicated to the collected discography of Weezer. Expect an extra helping of Rivers Cuomo-related material, with an entire section of the night dedicated to playing Songs from the Black Hole, Weezer's lost studio album. At just $5, this one's hard to beat, but you can actually go for free if you get into the spirit of things and arrive in a shitty sweater before 11 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 4
Where: Holy Cow
When: 9 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Why: Continuing this weekend's trend of debut performances by heavy hitters, Honey Soundsystem is bringing in one of the U.K.'s most in-demand house and disco producers. Mark E is the Birmingham-based label boss of Merc Records. Starting in 2005, he rose to prominence off the strength of his loopy slow-mo disco edits like "Scared" (a version of Womack and Womack's "Baby I'm Scared of You") and "R+B Drunkie" (Janet Jackson's "R&B Junkie"). Since that time, he's evolved into a producer of top-notch house music that pulls from the tradition of re-edit culture while also showcasing the producer's ravier side. Recent releases include "Call Me," "The Day," and Stone Breaker, his debut LP. For an idea of his DJ style, go listen to the "Stone Wall Mix" he did for Ghostly International's GhostlyCast.