Like an unhinged assclown

Blake Abbey of Musical Charis at Beatnik Studios last Friday for the release of the group’s new album, <i>Electra City Church Bells</i>.

Blake Abbey of Musical Charis at Beatnik Studios last Friday for the release of the group’s new album, Electra City Church Bells.


Jackson Griffith’s danceology: I can’t dance worth, well, Shinola. Me, on the dance floor, can be kinda like random Tinkertoy parts spilling from the container onto the floor, as some other writer described David Byrne onstage years ago: big old white yobbo, flailing arms about, legs jerking like dying insect parts—you know that guy, right?

Which is why I’ve stayed out of dance clubs for years. In the 1970s, you couldn’t make the cut if your style of dress did not pass muster with bouncers and other authoritarian clothing enforcers, and if your hair was unkempt and you wore natural-fiber threads, well, forget it. And if you did sneak in, a random spaz act on the floor would get you ostracized by the house Tony Maneros, or worse, jailed; I once got permanently 86’d from Epaminondas, a disco chain started by Eppie’s Restaurants, in Las Vegas, Nev., circa 1978, after I’d drunkenly busted out of the wooden dance-floor Sadie Hawkins hoosegow they’d put me in for fashion violations (true story). So I missed out on all that great disco fun back in the day.

So when DJ Larry Rodriguez invited me to his little Sunday night funk soiree at The Press Club, I felt minor trepidation. Not to worry, though, because you can dance like an unhinged assclown there and no one really cares—well, maybe some hipsters, but the overarching vibe is loose and forgiving. Larry and DJ Hailey, a.k.a. performance artist Mom, spin the sides, which vary from well-known old-school R&B, funk and dance rock to obscure tracks from the same genres; no Guido fist-pump “house music” for battling or Jersey Shore mating rituals here.

Last night, I went down to see if I could recapture the magic I’d felt the previous Sunday, which was what some psychologists might call a liberating experience. Things really don’t get kicking and undulating until after 10, and I missed Hailey’s set, which was heavy on obscure but thumping funk tracks the previous week. As Larry says, she’s good.

When I rolled in well after 11, Larry was underway with some James Brown, and Mom and a couple dozen others were shaking it on the floor. I slid toward the back where it was safe; after a couple of songs, I was content to not move much—some nights, the stimuli is there, but you’re just not feeling your gears engage. But plenty others were shifting and downshifting to the bass-heavy grooves, and the beauty of it was that you could get all buggy to old-school cuts without worrying about some Angel’s Flight gestapo swooping in and limiting you from getting your freak on. And the crowd, due to its collective age, probably had no clue that there was a time when the liberating joy of these tracks could not be experienced in a club context, because of the asshole factor. Which wasn’t in effect at all at The Press on either Sunday night I showed up. Nothing but party people. (Jackson Griffith)

Home Depot style: They searched me for weapons, insulted my overly casual classic black Converse and then took my money, a $15 cover. But inside was a sensory orgy of lights, booming music and plenty of alcohol. Being that it was my first time at The Park Ultra Lounge, I had no idea of what to expect from the vetted upscale hangout that was flooded with women in sequin miniskirts and men wearing ever-popular skin-tight skull button-ups. As the saying goes, there were more tools than in a Home Depot.

The only thing not disappointing about the evening was DJ Jus James, who flowed so seamlessly from track to track that you hardly noticed the new song pounding through the speakers until the cheers of those in the bouncing crowd alerted you that something had changed. I had arrived unfashionably early, as I thought the crowds would be too overwhelming to stomach due to the popularity of this particular club. DJ Jus James whipped the crowd to a fever pitch with mixes of well-known and lesser-played tracks. The music was better than I had originally expected, and helped to drown out the conversations about the new season of The Hills that spewed from the swarms of loungers who circled the numerous bars and heat lamps, like sharks in some kind of perverse feeding frenzy. (Eyragon Eidam)

Another new all-ages venue: All-Ages Watch 2010 is in full effect; you would expect nothing less from Nickall-ages is deadMiller, right? Anyway, here’s your alert: this Friday, January 15, Shire Road Club—at 5525 Auburn Boulevard, former home of the Shire Road Pub and everyone’s favorite Body Shop. Anyway Friday’s lineup is Boats!, Baby!, the Secretions (no exclamation mark) and Sharp Objects (8 p.m., $10). Check out more show dates in SN&R’s Nightbeat calendar, page 56. (Nick Miller)

SN&R Presents … : Here’s a don’t-miss: S.F. dance-funk duo Wallpaper., with special guests Doom Bird (chamber indie with Kris Anaya, Joe Davancens and friends) and CityState (electronica) this Saturday, January 16, at Luigi’s Fun Garden, 1050 20th Street; 8:30 p.m., $7.