It's Thursday! Time to slack off at work and watch the clock like a fiend. Avert your eyes for a moment and consider this week's roster of parties. A tangential benefit is that you might fool your coworkers into believing you're actually doing something useful. But who says you aren't? After all, partying is serious business. We have five suggestions, and we want them looked over by Friday. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
Jammin Gerald, Parris Mitchell, and Mister Saturday Night at Public Works
9 p.m. Saturday, March 22. $15-$20
Chicago's Dance Mania label may not be a household name, but you've probably heard of some of its artists. "Teachers," Daft Punk's name-dropping classic (from the duo's first album, Homework) plays like a Rolodex of old-school Chicago heads who once populated Dance Mania's discography. The reason for this is simple: The imprint has had a profound effect on the history of not only house, but dance music in general. This Saturday, Icee Hot is teaming up with Honey Soundsystem to offer a night with three of the original "Teachers": Paul Johnson, Jammin Gerald, and Parris Mitchell.
Dance Mania started in 1985, around the time when Chicago house's first murmurings emerged on vinyl and reel-to-reel. Unlike other labels operating at the time, Dance Mania quickly established an aesthetic for itself that was raw, percussive, and streetwise, with cuts like Hercules' "7 Ways" and The House Master Boyz and The Rude Boy of House's "House Nation" departing far from Chicago house's early obsession with emulating disco and synth-pop. Later cuts, like Lil' Louis' sinister and busted "The Original Video Clash" carried this idea further, popularizing "tracks" -- stripped-down dance music designed for DJ use that lacks the conventional pop structure of a "song." Eventually, this evolved into a whole subgenre associated with Dance Mania known as "ghetto house" -- a speedy and sexualized form exemplified by works like Jammin Gerrald's "Black Women (Club)," which loops "You've got to sweat motherfucker" and samples coital moans over a bone-dry drum machine loop.
Though its prime years have since passed, interest in Dance Mania has been on the rise. In January, London's archivist Strut imprint released Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1997, a comprehensive retrospective of the label's most iconic works. This comes at a time when many contemporary DJs are discovering that much of the label's back catalog fits easily into modern techno and house sets -- even prompting a small ghetto house revival. That's all well and good, but nothing compares to the real deal, which is why we think Icee Hot and Honey Soundsystem's Dance Mania showcase this Saturday is a can't-miss event. Expect an evening of underground house music in its most undiluted form. Check out this mix from Parris Mitchell to get ready for the night.
10 p.m. Friday, March 21. $15-$25
Techno would not exist in its present form without Juan Atkins. The Detroit producer invented the spacey and futuristic sound in the mid-'80s through a string of releases recorded under his now-mythological aliases like Cybotron and Model 500 (check out "Alleys of Your Mind" and "No UFOs"). He's remained active ever since, and his DJ sets reflect a continually evolving American interpretation of the genre, with old-school classics mixed with sounds drawn from the contemporary underground. Listen to this Juan Atkins mix.
9 p.m. Friday, March 21. $20-$22
Many know Tensnake solely for "Coma Cat," his disco-tinged 2010 club anthem. However, the German producer offers a whole lot more: His sound is an accessible take on house that mixes '90s nostalgia with rhythms and bass lines tuned for the bombastic soundsystems and wild atmospheres of Ibiza's all-night party culture. Listen to his recent single "Love Sublime feat. Nile Rogers and Fiora" and then check out his Boiler Room mix.
10 p.m. Saturday, March 22. Free
The cheese and glamor of '80s Italian disco (or "Italo") lives on every month at Galaxy Radio. It's a free party that's dedicated itself to the niche genre made popular in America by Kano's "I'm Ready" -- famously sampled in Tag Team's "Whoomp! (There it Is)." This Saturday's party is a showcase on local label Voltaire Records, with a live performance by modern Italo practitioner PLaZA and DJ sets by Roche and CB-R.
12 p.m. Sunday, March 23. $10-$20
It must be this past year's good weather: Day parties are on the rise in San Francisco. The latest is an extravaganza at Audio featuring a set by Parisian deep house guru D'Julz. He's the man behind Bass Culture, a label and party that has long served as a center for Paris' dance music community. Expect jazzy, modern deep house and other sounds suitable for nursing your hangover from the night before. Listen to D'Julz playing live at Ibiza's DC10 megaclub.