SUPER EGO First off, a woozy-recovery shoutout to the heroes of Folsom Street Fair, beyond the organizers themselves, who continue to bring a solid electro music festival vibe to the, er, packed fistful of proceedings. I think drag artist VivvyAnne Forevermore outdid all the torture enthusiasts by staying in full face for three whole days of performing, the mysterious entity known as Luther proved at its party that 400 shirtless, sex-reeking men on a dancefloor doesn’t mean “circuit party,” and DJ Carnita of Hard French valiantly kicked off the amazing Deviants party fresh from the hospital, his ankle broken in a tragic gay basketball accident. What we won’t do for love!
Now, looking ahead (after all those behinds): is trap music a trap? The burgeoning microgenre has seized the Internet this summer after bubbling under for 10 years, begun as a low-budget, dirty-sounding Atlanta rap beats style meant to reflect the dark and paranoid feel of the drug game — the “trap” in question. What it’s become is both a savvy marketing onslaught by hype-happy music producers, some of them of the douche variety (boo) and also a way for dubstep-weary general partiers to get deeper and sexier, by combining hip-hop’s crunked 808 bass-snare swag with EDM’s keyboard-driven energy and some classic booty-bass trimming (nice).
I’m digging it, even though I’m no fan of pop-EDM’s LCD aspirations or contemporary hip-pop’s zombie materialism and worn-out masculinity-crisis tropes — although all that’s recently been changing a bit, and luckily the sophisticated techno and alternative hip-hop scenes have been thriving in reaction. SF finally has a regular club night devoted to the sound, Trap City (Sat/29 and last Saturdays, 9pm-4am, $7–$10. Icon, 1192 Folsom, SF.). And of course we’re giving it some goofy irony and some serious underground connections.
The irony comes via witchy-Tumblr graphics, cartoonish “gold chainz swangin'” hype, and Net-savvy entities (producer Trill Murray and rapper Chippy Nonstop perform this month). The underground connects come from notorious DJ Ultraviolet, queen of the early, grimy dubstep and bass scenes here, who runs the Trap with partner Napsty.
“I think a lot of DJs are getting into this style of music because it is a lot less intense and ‘ravetastic’ then most of the brostep coming out these days, and that sort of vibe is easier for more people to grasp right now than electro and dubstep bangers — although I enjoy those, too,” Ultraviolet told me over email.
“I’ve always injected a bit of hip-hop flavor into my sets and so a lot of the trap music coming out recently appealed to me: it sounds good on the big soundsystems and girls aren’t afraid to dance to it. I really like the diverseness of the scene. At Trap City we get all types of people. You just see everyone going nuts and loving it so much, I kinda ask myself, as a bass music DJ how could I not get into this? LOL.”
Together with other local DJs — some of them hailing from the burner, glitch, or street bass scenes — like Taso, Stylust Beats, Bogl, and AnTennae, and following in the footsteps of bigtimers like Diplo and Flosstradamus, the Trap City kids are pushing the sound forward. Even if it all ends up being more marketing mirage than actual sonic imprint (ahem, moombahton), it’s got a great beat and we can dance to it.
“SF has always loved its hip hop and dirty bass, so the combination of the two seems to fit perfectly with SF’s style,” Ultraviolet tells me. (Peep her productions and trap mixes at www.soundcloud.com/djultraviolet.) “We’re a cool town, this is cool music. I see SF and trap music having a long romantic relationship.”
Last time our favorite Latin funk-global jams collective took over Mighty, it was dancing room only — this installment looks to be just as groovy-bonkers, with a three-hour set from awesome Afrolicious brothers Pleasuremaker and Senor Oz (including live percussion), and special guests J-Boogie and Izzy*Wise.
Fri/28, 10pm-late, $8 advance. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF. www.mighty119.com
The renowned Manchester technoist blew minds last year with the release of two EPs, Passed Me By and We Saty Together, that embraced an almost terrifying sludgy slowness, mesmerizing with an ur-tribal vibe. He’ll be joined by psychotomimetic occultists Demdike Stare, glitch-blissed Balam Acab, SF’s ghostly oOoOO, sound artist Holly Herndon, and Dark Entries’ darkwaver Josh Cheon for an eclectic night of sounds of now at the Public Access party.
Fri/28, 10pm, $12–$15. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF. www.publicsf.com
CATZ ‘N DOGZ
A Polish house duo so close to my heart I can feel it beating them right now. They live in Berlin now, and combine polished Wolf + Lamb-like R&Bish vibes with that trademark Germanic techno attention to every detail. Most important, they have a sense of humor, great ears for new releases, and are a lot of fun to dance to.
Sat/29, 9pm-4am, $10–$20. Monarch, 101 Sixth St., SF. www.monarchsf.com
SWEATER FUNK FOUR-YEAR ANNIVERSARY
The 100 percent vinyl soul party jets out of the toddler stage, with all the origonal crew in tact, including one of my favorite people, DJ Mama Bear. Laidback, deep boogie, slow jams loveliness — and yes, you will sweat.
Sat/29, 9pm, $5 advance, Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF. www.elbo.com
This sounds cool: A party in a huge space (Space 550, in fact) with 3-D visuals mixed live (first 500 in get glasses), a DJ set by Ladytron, and a 1990s house room with old school and 3-D video games, and a giant projected Pong tournament. Double double win win.
Sat/29, 9pm-late, $25 advance. Space 550, 550 Barneveld, SF. www.tinyurl.com/stereo550
TIARA SENSATION PAGEANT
Who will win this year’s drag tiara of insanity and wonder? All the underground gender clown cognoscenti will gather to determine the new princess-unicorn of the scene, brought to you by the Tiara Sensation crew (they do the fantastic Some Thing drag night at the Stud on Fridays). Judges Pink Lightning, Gina LaDivina, and HRH Princess Diandra of NYC will choose from a glittering bevy of hopefuls; current titleholder Lil Miss Hot Mess will step down (and down) in a surely unforgettable number.
Sat/29, 9pm, $15–$20. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF. www.rickshawstop.com