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Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Basement Jaxx
  • Basement Jaxx

Congratulations, you've made it to Thursday. As you've probably gathered, this is an important milestone on the road towards the release and pleasure of the weekend: Yes, that's right, it's time to start thinking about where you want to party. If you haven't given it too much thought (too many Excel spreadsheets maybe?), don't worry, we have you covered. Read on -- your weekend awaits.

Basement Jaxx at Public Works

9 p.m. Saturday, July 12. $20-$35

"Where's your head at?"

This was a question heard around the world thanks to U.K. duo Basement Jaxx (aka Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe). Their song of the same name, with its unforgettable chorus, was a pop radio anthem that managed to bridge the divide between rock and dance music in a way that left both parties satisfied. But while Basement Jaxx has come to be identified with that particular work, it hardly scratches the surface of the band's sound. In truth, Basement Jaxx has always been eclectic, and that song was just a manifestation of a deeper ethos of stylistic exploration that the duo has been cultivating since the mid-'90s.

The roots of their style presumably go back to Buxton and Ratcliffe's Basement Jaxx parties in London, which preceded their production work. Their songs have always had a certain chaotic quality to them that reflects the clash of sounds and styles of a particularly hard-partying DJ set. Their work in the mid-'90s was steeped in the energy of underground dance music: On "Deep in Tha Night," they tackled Ecstasy-enhanced rave music; on "Fly Life," they went disco house; and on "Samba Magic," they created one of the most enduring Latin house classics of all time. Later, they mixed these disparate elements into the material on Remedy, their first LP, which managed to pair the P-Funk and Daft Punk-esque extravaganza of "Red Alert" with the stop-start drum-and-bass of "Always There." Then came Rooty -- with "Where's Your Head At?" -- which signaled a period of experimentation throughout the 2000s. That might be best summed up in 2003's "Take Me B ack To Your House," which paired saccharine female vocals, heaving percussion, and, of all things, a banjo breakdown to create something that, while undeniably creative, was almost over-the-top in terms of artistic indulgence.

In 2014, Basement Jaxx returns to a more dancefloor-friendly sound with "Unicorn," the lead single from Junto, the duo's forthcoming album. With it, they've followed a path back to the energy of their '90s house output and embraced the concerns of the dancefloor once more. It's less overtly experimental, but it ticks off all the right boxes for big fun. And if anything, that ought to be a good omen for their DJ set at Public Works this Saturday, which is their first appearance in San Francisco in many years.

Ripperton at Monarch

9:30 p.m. Thursday, July 10. $10

There's a certain unconventional soulfulness in the music of Ripperton, but what else would you expect from a DJ named after one of the most unconventional soul divas of all time (Minnie Ripperton)? His sound blends the precise sonic architecture and pulse of techno's dubbier minimal strains with vocals drenched in emotion.

Rollingtuff presents Clockwork and Avatism at Monarch

10 p.m. Friday, July 11. $10-$20

A lot of contemporary tech house comes off as a little too polished. Not so in the case of the collaborative works between Clockwork and Avatism, two Italian acts whose tracks together, like "One Trick Pony," have a gritty underground edge that plays out with tightly wound percussion and murky vocal samples.

The Crystal Method at Public Works

9:30 p.m. Friday, July 11. $20-$25

Long before the current EDM boom, there was another similar moment in U.S. dance music history in the 1990s. The Crystal Method was a big part of this. Its songs, like "Get Busy Child," were intense and bombastic mainstream expressions of underground rave culture. Today it's still as bombastic, but it's dropped the breakbeats and acid basslines in favor of the total melodic euphoria of EDM.

Urulu at Audio Discotech, 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 12. $10-$20

The spirit of '90s house lives on in the tracks and sets of Urulu. His music interpolates the driving energy and raw explosiveness of artists like Masters at Work and Kerri Chandler for the contemporary moment. That aesthetic translates to his DJ sets, which are uptempo and frenetic workouts.

-- @derekopperman


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Derek Opperman

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