Nite Trax

Nite Trax: Roasting SF club legend Timmy Spence

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If you think you're cool (or merely interesting) -- please drop everything and watch this clubkid-packed 1981 video masterpiece by scene terror Timmy Spence. He's being shamelessly and publicly roasted on the occasion of his 60th(!) birthday this Saturday, courtesy of some might big drag queens. After the jump, Trannyshack's Heklina dishes the dirt and gives the deets.

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Nite Trax: Comedowns are for losers! 2013

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Anybody can go out to any fabulous party on New Year's Eve. But how long can you survive into the dawning of 2k13? Below are the best parties happening on Tuesday, New Year's Day -- how low can you go! (It's kind sad that we now only have one day a year that's like SF nightlife in the 90s, sigh.)

But first, here's the exact chill-before-thrill mix I want to hear at 7am rolling up to the venue with my girls, blunt smoke pouring from the cracked window:

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Nite Trax: Ana Sia, back on home court

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For those of you who haven't been listening: Ana Sia is kind of a big deal. One of those quaintly San Francisco nightlife things -- you blink for a hot minute, and someone familiar on the scene blows up, their hard work rewarded with major festival gigs, a large and growing following, and DJ sets being featured on NPR. Heeeey.

I've been a fan of the poised yet energetic Ana for a long while, and I must say I'm pleased as punch for her continued success -- and to see what she's got in store for us as she plays again in SF. (She's one of the headliners, along with the UK's excellently house and techy Ben UFO, at Friday night's As You Like It party at Beat Box.) Onstage, the local Frite Nite label head quickly pulls you into her zone, tempering a concentration born of pure appreciation of the music with some playful bouncing and disarming charm. "I'm having a shit-ton of fun!" you can hear her shouting from the decks.

Categorizing her actual sound, however, can prove challenging.

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Nite Trax: Tormenta Tropical whips up 5 years of cumbia madness

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Five years ago the local nightlife scene was broadening its scope in a multitude of awe-inspiring musical directions, from contemporary Afrobeat and baile funk to experimental global indie. In that atmosphere of diverse ferment, a couple of super-talented kids, recently returned from Argentina, started Tormenta Tropical (along with label Bersa Discos), a monthly at the Elbo Room dedicated to the electronic spin many Latin American artists were putting on the traditional cumbia sound.

The sound centered around club Zizek in Buenos Aires and its ZZK label -- but it also found a home, strangely enough, in the tropical-hungry underground clubs of Montreal. Tormenta Tropical provided a third leg of the nu-cumbia triangle, and has been known ever since as a go-to for cutting edge global bass and electro-Latin tracks. There were also a lot of glowing Virgin Marys on the DJ booth and a taco truck parked outside. 

This Saturday, oro11 and Shawn Reynaldo (formerly Disco Shawn), celebrate the fifth anniversary of the club, and it's gonna be a humdinger, chicas.

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Nite Trax: Honey Soundsystem feels love anew

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Honey Soundsystem, that handsome group of techno and disco rarety-loving DJs and purveyors of one of the best weekly parties in SF (Sundays at Holy Cow), has gone through a few changes this year, parting ways with a couple members -- perhaps temporarily -- to side projects and expanding their reach greatly with several international appearances.

But the honeycomb hasn't stopped pumping out great tunes, and it looks like Honey's latest record label, HNYTRX, has launched with an expansive, uplifting new house tune, "Face Love Anew" by Australian favorites Stereogamous featuring singer Shaun J. Wright, formerly of Hercules and Love Affair. It's a keeper.

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Nite Trax: Hunee spreads love at Honey

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"Hunee is a good eater," begins Berlin-based DJ Hunee's official biography. "Good" here surely means voracious -- Hunee may be well-known for his deep disco sets (sometimes running to seven hours in length, especially at his great Hunchin All Night parties) and deep-grooved house productions, but his omnivorous ear takes in everyone from Eric Dolphy and Sergiu Celibidache to N.W.A and Madlib. He creates lovely worlds from these disparate interests, and his generous, off-handedly ironic manner spreads a layer of laidback jazzy soul over the sonic smorgasbord. 

On Sun/30, Honey Soundsystem celebrates six years of putting on one of the best weekly parties in San Francisco (it's honeycomb hexagonal!), Honey Sundays (9pm, $5. Holy Cow, 1535 Folsom, SF.) And to celebrate, the boys flew in this beloved underground soul traveller for an exclusive three-hour set. I caught him over email for a few questions.

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Nite Trax: Re-enter Kingdom

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You can't talk contemporary American bass music without starting right off at Kingdom, a.k.a. LA's Ezra Rubin. (He appears here Sat/22 at the Lights Down Low party at Public Works, in a bananas lineup that includes Kim Ann Foxman, Miracles Club, jozif, and MikeQ.)

Two years ago, his bounce-rave masterpiece "Mindreader" and the low-creeping, R&Bleepy That Mystic EP popped the top of critics' lists and club faves, and injected some mad energy into the scene on these shores. That was followed by last year's acclaimed Dreama EP, which blueprinted some interesting bass possibilities, swinging from cinematic vogue-warps to post-grime gamer spaciness.

Kingdom also provided a crucial link between London's fantastic label-club Night Slugs scene, in which he came up in the late '00s, and the somewhat scattered US bass scene that operated outside the Diploshere. His Fade to Mind touring collective and label, launched with Prince William, became a focal point for underground American fractal-bass musicmakers like Nguzunguzu and Total Freedom who could hype a club through their disparate styles, but didn't mind getting a little arty about it.

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Nite Trax: Body High are your bass mechanics

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In this week's Super Ego column, I wrote of my deep, abiding love of bass music (and revealed my secret source of UK bass knowledge). As low-low luck would have it, 222 Hyde will be woofed and tweeted this Saturday by Body High, a label out of LA whose roster is comprised of several Cali bass stars: Samo Soundboy, LOL Boys, Floyd Campbell. Plus you get DJ Dodger Stadium! (requisite half-hearted boo from Giants fans, and then indulgent smile.) Here's a few sounds you can expect to be rumbled by:

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Nite Trax: The Eagle flies again

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I hung out yesterday evening with the new occupants of the Eagle Tavern (now known as the SF Eagle, apparently) at a celebration of the lease-signing at the Lone Star Saloon. Alex Montiel and Mike Leon seem perfect to replace the former Eagle operators Joe and John: Tough-looking and leather-bearish, a tad gruff at first but friendly once they warm to you, and a wee bit shy of the press right now.

They'll be releasing their full plans for the storied queer bar in a couple weeks, but I did manage to squeeze some juicy info out of Alex. They hope to open the bar in time for Halloween, the liquor license has indeed been secured (in fact, they have two!), and they'll be doing their best to return some of the Eagle's ambiance to the now-pretty-much-gutted space, with a few slight modifications to the bar layout for code and traffic flow reasons.   

It's certainly been a long, winding, super-convoluted road to get to this point!

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Nite Trax: Yes, the 2012 San Francisco Nightlife Awards are real

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... and apparently I am hosting them with Anna Conda on Thursday, May 31. What the heck are the 2012 San Francisco Nightlife Awards? No worries, they are magical, and you should totally go because it's gonna be a fun party that supports the future of San Francisco nightlife. But let's back up a minute.

A few weeks ago, my Nightlife Bat Phone started ringing off the Nightlife Bat Hook. "We were just nominated for a 2012 San Francisco Nightlife Award!" or "Why weren't we nominated for a 2012 San Francisco Nightlife Award?" or "What the heck are the San 2012 Francisco Nightlife Awards?" said the chorus of voices into my Nightlife Bat Voicemail, because my Nightlife Bat Ringer broke when I dropped it in a vat of fake blood while vampire-wrestling for charity (gay).

It seemed like the awards had come out of nowhere. But I will reveal all! Or rather, Nathan Allbee of the California Music and Culture Association, which is putting on this year's awards, will reveal all via my short interview (along with a complete list of nominees) below.

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