Next week will be a magical time to be in San Francisco. It's almost Burning Man -- and as is the case every year, that means those of us away from the playa will have the run of the city. While you may suspect this means a sleepier nightlife, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, things seem as bustling as ever, with a heavy dose of four-to-the-floor entertainment and appearances by some of Chicago's best. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
Friday, August 24
Where: Public Works
When: 9 p.m. - 3 a.m.
Why: The Chase returns for its second installment at Public Works. Much like the first go-round, this one focuses on the left-fieldish sounds emanating from L.A. label 100% Silk. Headlining the party is a debut live performance by Pharaohs, a group that popped-up last year with a wild, Madchester-referencing debut single titled "Uhh Uhh." Rounding out the bill is a full roster of local DJs that includes Jason Kendig from Honey Soundsystem and SMAC from Haçeteria, as well as Chase resident DJ/promoter Ash Williams. Also worth a mention are the atmospheric party visuals provided by Caitlin Denny, who last time managed to blanket the entire room in immersive rainbows of glitchy video feedback.
When: 9 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Why: "We are Wildkats. We come as 3. We are not a cheerleading team. We are not a sports team. We are not fictional superheroes. We are not a high school musical." UK-based DJ collective/production outfit The Wildkats might not be the best when it comes to SEO, but at least the trio acknowledges that in its bio. And maybe it's not such a big deal: The group's music speaks for itself -- assembled, it's got a style that combines the slicked-back and club-ready sound of Hot Creations with an obvious reverence for the synthesized sounds of the 1980s. "Addict for You," "To Be," and "System Crank" all ought to give you an idea of what to expect.
Saturday, August 25
Where: Public Works
When: 10 p.m. - 3 a.m.
Why: Icee Hot is one of our favorite parties in the city, and this month's guest just further confirms that status. Hieroglyphic Being (a.k.a. Jamal Moss) is an old-school Chicagoan who's been involved with house music since the late-'80s. A disciple of the bold style of Ron Hardy, he's a prolific producer who specializes in abrasive lo-fi rhythms and intensely trippy atmospherics. Listen to "A Music Box Reflection," "Conversations in an Analog Dialect," and "The Lost Transmission" for a better understanding of his unique sound. Also on deck for the evening is local producer Roche -- who just released a record on Mathematics, Moss' label -- and the complete Icee Hot DJ crew.
Where: 222 Hyde
When: 10 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Why: The Windy City is one of those places that just seems to live and breathe dance music. The 1980s in particular were a special time, with house music coming out of every car stereo and boombox courtesy of local radio station WBMX. As you might imagine, something with such a constant presence might end up influencing people. In the case of Sean Hernandez (aka Chicago Skyway) that's definitely been the case. Growing up in the North Side of Chicago, Hernandez got his start DJing as a teenager in the late-'80s. Though a recognized local figure, it took him until 2007 to release original material of his own. That long period of study as a DJ and fan has given him the perspective to make beautiful and forward-leaning tracks like "Heavens and Angels," "Bad Driver," and "Bells." Head over to Little White Earbuds for two serious podcasts and an incredibly in-depth interview.
What: Go Bang!
Where: Deco Lounge
When: 10 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Why: Last but not least is local disco party Go Bang!. Started nearly four years ago, the Deco Lounge standby is one of the best places in the city to catch an old-school S.F. underground disco vibe. It's not just a simulation either, Steve Fabus, one of the club's residents, has a CV that stretches back to the glory days of the Trocadero Transfer and I-Beam. As it happens, that history currently has him on tour, playing gigs in Europe. So instead, this month the party is going to take a somewhat different direction. First up is Sergio Fedasz, the club's tireless promoter, who'll be following up his intense Sylvester tribute with a similarly reverential set honoring R&B legends Ashford & Simpson (you know, the duo that did "Stay Free," "Over & Over," and "It Seems to Hang On"). Next up is Florida-based Chang Bang, a globetrotting DJ who lived in the Bay Area in the early '00s (check out "House Nation TV" a program he used to host on San Francisco's public access channel). Then it's a birthday DJ set by SFBG nightlife guru Marke B. And, finally, I'll be rounding out the evening with a crateful of records from the days of Gemini Disco. Put your wig and polyester pants away -- for this one you probably won't need so many clothes.