When you talk about the San Francisco scene you’re really talking about the Bay Area. A lot of what’s happening musically and the artists who make and play the music are scattered around Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, etc. While the SF music and art scene is seeped in a rich history that extends back to the Beats of the ’50s, the psychedelic ’60s, through to the nascent gay-disco scene of the ’70s and ’80s and the early rave days of the ’90s, the truth is that, like New York, skyrocketing rents and limited housing options have made it increasingly difficult for an artist to live and thrive in San Francisco proper. We stay in Oakland, G.
Despite the residential displacements, there are still tons of independent artists, great venues, parties, and party people carrying the bohemian torch forward. From our own stomping grounds at Moulton Studios, head down to the Lower Haight to visit record boutiques like Vinyl Dreams and Groove Merchant to get the goods, then hit DIY synth factory Robot Speak where you can build your own Surge sequencer. That’s the protocol: build your own keyboard, head to the studio, record your track, go buy your record, play it at the party (see below): it’s all happening within a couple-block radius.
Parties, DJs, Records
Vinyl culture is making a big, welcome comeback. Local labels are re-balancing offline to better connect with the small but fiercely dedicated crowd that record-buyers have become. Aniligital, Roam, Deepblak, Voltaire, HNYTRX, Hector Works, Golden Goose and Pressed Friends are just a few good examples, but beyond our own scope of immediate interests there lie dozens more.
The Bay Area is home to some of the best, most eclectic, original and innovative DJs heard anywhere. Way too many here to mention, but they all contribute to the “SF Sound” that continues to shape dance music and shake dancers the world over.
Parties like No Way Back, As You Like It and Rare Form, Sunset, Stompy, Housepitality, Honey Soundsystem, We Are Monsters, and of course, Wicked continue to showcase the current subterranean dance culture, in the clubs and wherever else they can.
Next page: Bands Worth Watching