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Party Blotter: Music to Keep You Dancing All Night

Carl Craig

Carl Craig, via Facebook

This edition of the Party Blotter features two of Detroit’s finest DJs, both performing in our fair city on the same night. Both are at the top of their game, so it’s hard to decide which of the two you should see, but rest assured that both parties will be top-notch. Rounding out the rest of the selections are some soulful post-disco, some beautiful synthesizer experimentation, and some funky outsider techno - so basically, something for everyone. See you on the dance floor!

HOUSE OF MEZZANINE featuring PAT MAHONEY, Thursday 2/20, Mezzanine

Although Mezzanine is most commonly known as a concert venue, the number of electronic music and DJ bookings there has been steadily ramping up. To my knowledge, this marks the first time there’s been a regularly occurring monthly party at the venue, and it’s off to a good start, with Pat Mahoney, a disco and house DJ who was also the drummer for a lil’ old band called LCD Soundsystem – you may have heard of them. There’s a lot of LCD influence to be heard in Mahoney’s DJ sets, which combine the deeper, melodic stylings of modern house (Recloose, Oni Ayhun, John Talabot) with funkier, disco-inflected sounds – think Todd Terje, DJ Harvey, and Daniel Wang. All in all, it’s the kind of dance music that gets people sweaty, sexualized, and primed to tear up a dance floor. Also featured is Museum of Love, Pat’s collaborative project with Dennis McNany of The Juan Maclean, and Curses, better known as Drop the Lime. DJ support will be provided by party residents Eug (who also runs the Face party), Richie Panic (half of the Lights Down Low party animal dream team), and epicsauce (resident at the indie-centric Push The Feeling parties). RSVP on Facebook for more details and purchase presales via Ticketfly. 9pm - 2am, $10 presales, $10+ at the door.

RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY, PUBLIC WORKS, AND DEEP BLUE present CARL CRAIG and FRANÇOIS K, Saturday 2/22, Public Works

Two legends, two rooms of music, one club, one ticket – that’s pretty much as good as it gets. The two headliners for this party are two of the biggest names in dance music, and rightfully so: Carl Craig is one of Detroit’s greatest exports, a relentlessly prolific producer and DJ who has been releasing beautiful, melodic and soulful techno since 1989, and who also happens to be one of the world’s finest techno DJs. François K is the last of a dying breed, the quintessential New York City DJ, who has been spinning in various clubs throughout the city since the late 1970s, including all the famous ones you’ve always heard about. As if that weren’t enough, the Loft upstairs happens to feature a spectacularly curated lineup of DJs and producers, almost all of whom are local to the Bay Area: Ghosts on Tape and Shawn Reynaldo, two of Icee Hot’s resident DJs who play some of the most forward-thinking dance music in the city; Avalon Emerson, a local producer very much on the rise who is also an excellent house and techno DJ; Austin Cesear, an Oakland musician who’ll be performing a live set of his deep, dark, and murky techno; and Suzanne Kraft, an LA-based deep house producer and DJ. Warming up the main room are Deep Blue residents Rooz and Bo. Put all this together and you have a wonderfully diverse lineup – and a killer party. RSVP on Facebook for more information and buy presales via Ticketfly. 9pm to 3:30am, $18 presales, $20+ at the door.

Kevin Saunderson

Kevin Saunderson, via Facebook

LIGHTS DOWN LOW 8th ANNIVERSARY featuring KEVIN SAUNDERSON, Saturday 2/22, Monarch

Eight years is a long time. Parties that have lasted eight years are few and far between, but Lights Down Low is one such party, and they’re celebrating their eighth anniversary with the one and only Kevin Saunderson, who along with cohorts Derrick May and Juan Atkins (collectively known as the “Belleville Three”) pretty much invented Detroit techno. His first record came out in the late 80s, but Saunderson remains a workhorse, steadily releasing new 12”s and DJing all over the world on the regular. He’s no record-collecting slacker, either – his DJ set lists are filled with new, modern, deep house and dubby techno, even if he does almost always throw in some of his old favorites like “Big Fun” or “Good Life” (because the classics are classics for a reason). He’s joined by three new Lights Down Low resident DJs: MPHD, Myles Cooper (who also runs the wonderful High Fantasy party), and Sean Split, who will all provide support alongside the classic LDL residents Sleazemore and Richie Panic. RSVP on Facebook for more information and purchase presales via Ticketfly. 9pm - 4am, $18 presales, $20+ at the door.

DARK UNIVERSE NIGHTLIFE featuring BEE MASK and ICEE HOT DJs, Thursday 2/27, California Academy of Sciences

The Academy of Sciences rightfully turned to Icee Hot to help them curate the musical selections for their “Dark Universe” Nightlife event, exploring the outer reaches of deep space. Icee Hot is bringing in musical guest Bee Mask, an experimental musician from Philadelphia who utilizes sample collages and analog synthesizers to create truly otherworldly music. Although Bee Mask’s early career consisted mainly of noisy and abstract compositions released in miniscule editions on cassette or homemade CDs, his recent output is more readily available and has attracted the attention of the techno community, who find kinship in his alien-sounding melodies and tones. His live set certainly won’t be dance music – expect undulating, wavy synthesizers paired with some bass-heavy frequency excursions – but that’s OK, since the Icee Hot DJs will be playing tunes throughout the evening. Dancing to deep house and underground techno inside the aquarium at the Academy is truly a unique experience, and something you must do if you haven’t already. As always, early arrival is recommended, so you can take full advantage of what the Academy offers – make sure to grab a planetarium ticket! RSVP on Facebook for more information and buy presales via the Academy’s website. 6pm - 10pm, $12 presales, $12 at the door.

SURFACE TENSION presents POWELL and BEAU WANZER, Saturday 3/1, Mercer (formerly Project One)

Of the numerous producers and DJs who have risen to the top of the underground techno world in the past year or two, Powell has proven one of the most compelling. A Brit, Powell grew up amongst the drum ’n’ bass and post-punk of his homeland, influences which can be heard in the atmosphere of his tracks, if not necessarily in the sound. Powell’s records sound like a strange, post-punk and no-wave version of techno; dance floor friendly, but off-kilter and slightly disjointed. As a DJ, his taste is impressively broad, stringing together industrial, experimental, old techno, drum ’n’ bass, and various odds and ends into a sum greater than its parts. He’ll be joined by Beau Wanzer, from Chicago, performing a live set of his own percussion-heavy, drum-centric productions; although he only has a couple records released under his own name, he’s performed as part of Mutant Beat Dance since 2009. His solo productions are stripped-down techno workouts, light on complexity but high in intensity. They’ll both be supported by Surface Tension’s resident DJs, playing techno and dance floor-friendly minimal synth selections. RSVP on Facebook for more details and purchase presales via Eventbrite. 10pm - 2am, $10-15 presales, $15+ at the door.