Say you, say me

Pub date March 18, 2009
WriterMarke B.
SectionMusicSectionSuper Ego


SUPER EGO Adult contemporary is alive and well and thriving in Southeast Asia. I just touched down from a refreshing jaunt to that worldly hot spot: Cambodia a capitalist riot of beauty and pollution, untamed Laos a communist stoner’s wet dream. Everyone Hunky Beau and I met was gorgeous, despite the odd backpacker overload, which occasioned a few frightful spottings of crocadreadles — northern Europeans sporting poorly waxed dreadlocks, jingle pants, and stomach-churning Crocs.

Memo to the Danes: please stop.

Still, even that led to some perfect Putamayo moments, as when a lovely Jewish-Korean singer at Dead Fish Tower guesthouse in Siem Reap launched into her acoustic version of Daft Punk’s "One More Time." Many of the citizens themselves, however, seemed happily obsessed with Lionel Richie, Westlife, Yanni (it lives!), and Thailand’s answer to Nickelback, Big Ass. The gay clubs were pumping the usual homo-panglobal Kylie Minoguerrhea, sigh, yet the drag was way brill. But alternative DJ and dance music culture — and even the hip-hop aspirations my Amerocentric, quasi-Orientalist mind expected to sense in the region’s rapidly developing economic climate — seemed banished to the land of wind and ghosts.

I’d say I felt a little sorry for the baby-boom youth there, but who am I to make value judgments? Value judgments give me acne, Jessica Simpson — and a few weeks probably aren’t enough time to properly shake out an underground. Besides, here on the other side of the rim our dance charts are clogged with Lady GaGa blah-blah-blah, zombie Prodigy retreads, and something called "Total Dance 2009." Goddess help us all. If ever there was a moment to hit the reboot on Western mainstream dance music — hell, even drag to trash and go running with the night — this may be it.



"If you’re tired of all the retro shit, holla," woozes New York City’s Kotchy on one of his typical genre-fuck tracks, blending ambient squelches with trippy bloops from inner space. "Our culture must be in a coma, and I’m not a doctor." Glasgow-based future bass collective LuckyMe brings twilit melodies, brogue-inflected park bench rhymes, and wry Scots humor to the burgeoning genre. Both Kotchy and LuckyMe’s Mike Slott will bruise the speakers with live performances, while graffiti artists sear your sinuses, at this month’s installment of Bass Camp.

Thu/19, 9 p.m., $10–$15. 111 Minna, SF.,


Do the words "electric strings" excite you as much as they do me? Yeah, that’s right, I’m a geek. The San Francisco Symphony, following in the frisky footsteps of other wildly successful nightlife-aware arts institutions, is launching a monthly post-performance shindig composed of cutting-edge styles. Cellist Alex Kelly’s avant-jazz combo kicks off this month, with electric strings and rock from NTL in April and the massive DJ Masonic with Mercury Lounge in May.

Fri/20, April 24, and May 22, after 8 p.m. concert, free with purchase of symphony performance ticket. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness, SF.


The name may sound like a trade show — and I’m here to tell you that drum ‘n bass fans make pretty great trade — but this huge affair brings serious low-end to Temple’s multiple floors, and a boffo chance to reconnect with, and lose your droopy drawers to, the fractured sound of yore. Chase and Status, Radioactive, 2 Cents, A.I., Havoc, and more break it up. Let’s get ready to rumble.

Fri/20, 10 p.m., $20. Temple, 540 Howard,


Ah, Sneak, how you play with our heart-shaped equalizers. One minute you’re banging chunky techno tunes, the next you’re upping the bongos for some well-earned soul release — and then you drop some serious freaking Chicago house gangster shit on us and we can’t stop screaming. Through it all you keep a shroom-happy smile on our faces and work the soles off our Keds. Here’s to another 15 years of squeaking the woodwork, and your choo-choo new contribution to the Back in the Box series. With Hector Moralez and Oscar Mirada.

Fri/20, 9 p.m., $10–$20. Six, 66 Sixth St., SF.


Anyone who caught house legend Francois K.’s head-scratching but still rewarding set at Vessel on March 12 may have taken away the same thought I did — the sparkling Balearic revival of the past few years has now congealed into a full-on non-ironic Ibiza attack. That’s kind of scary, but maybe the crappy-champagne-and-carnival-siren sound is an interesting comment on now. Prolific DJ and producer Clive Henry, of the glittery Circo Loco party based at Ibiza’s humongous DC10, may be the best person to help you rethink the microgenre at EndUp. Whether or not he’ll be sponsored by Got 2 B Magnetik hair gel with pheromones, like most Ibiza denizens, remains to be seen.

Sat/21, 10 p.m., $10–$20. EndUp, 401 Sixth St., SF.,


The moody duo is still touring — and bridging the gap between thoughtful Berlin minimal and the more laconic side of electro. Yet why would Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier ever stop accumuutf8g bonus miles as one of the most acclaimed live acts in dance music, especially with their Get Physical label still scoring kudos and their hoards of ready and willing fans? You may have seen it all before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the tits.

Sun/22, 8:30 p.m., $22 advance. Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF.