Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Event Review: Honey Sound System's Mineshaft Disco at 1015 Folsom

OK kids, I gotta be up front here: when an event involves the words "disco," "Sunday night," and "1015," I'll usually take a pass. However, being that those words were also accompanied by "Honey Sound System," I was determined to check out this party. When I walked out the door on Sunday night, unaccompanied by friends or boyfriend, and felt the drizzle on my face, I almost turned back around, and when I arrived at 103 Harriet Street at about 9.15 and was unable to find any sign that a party was going on, I was ready to ditch it once again. But, I had already spent cab fare to get there, so I decided to take a walk around the block in the hope that the doors would be open when I returned. Even though it was 9.40 when I was finally let in, I was ultimately glad that I stuck it out to attend the best event of the weekend.

There were problems with the doorman (Ken Vulsion let me and a couple other guys in as he was going out to grab a bite to eat since no doorman had showed up) and a mixer transplant had to be performed about a half hour after I arrived, but the HSS team made the basement of 1015 feel like a special warm, cozy space that made enduring these issues worthwhile. After walking into the dark entrance I spotted curtains of red and silver mylar forming a hallway to a flight of stairs leading down, and from below I could hear the music - it was like walking into a small, secret, underground space, even though it was in the basement of the biggest club in SoMa. In the space itself (which has a very cool round dance floor surrounded by booths and pulsating lights in the ceiling) the kids had put up a central display of packing boxes and record sleeves, along with some informational posters about the old Mindshaft club, and 1015's former existence as the infamous Sutro bathhouse. In another corner there was a memorial to Sylvester, whose death date was Monday, and all the table tops were decorated with more record sleeves and big plastic happy face whistles. My god, I thought, these guys have put together an actual theme!

There were only a couple other people in the club for the first half hour I was there, but by 11, which I had originally estimated as my departure time, it had picked up so much that I reconsidered. I saw several people I knew, and the crowd was really quite diverse, friendly, and fun. There were straight kids and gay kids, young guys and older, trannies and maybe even a couple muscle queens (it was certainly warm enough for shirts to come off, but maybe a little early), all getting down and smiling at one another on the dancefloor. More than any other events I've been to lately, HSS events seem to bring together a community of people who are interested in new experiences, new music (even if it is vintage), and meeting new people. It's the kind of vibe that I associate much more with raves than I do clubs, and I think it's a sign that these kids have tapped into a desire that many of us have for a scene that is about something more than body types, designer clothes, and music for the lowest common denominator.

As for the music - I danced to disco. Did you ever think I would write those words? The difference was that, in this case, I wasn't having to deal with the cheezy or the overly-familiar. It was during Jason Kendig's set that I found myself really listening to the music, and in his selections I heard the early days of house and the foundations of electro. I was suprised by some of the synth lines I heard, and how infrequently the tracks relied on overused disco devices like strings, horn sections, and warbling diva vocals. It was a much different tour through disco than what I have heard in the past, and it was enough to make me think that I need to look into this further.

Over the course of the evening I kept texting the boyfriend that he should get off the couch and come down, that the party was shaping up to be quite awesome, but he was firmly rooted in place, and so, by the time midnight rolled around, I knew that I needed to take off. As soon as I got home, though, I sent Pee Play an email saying that I hoped they would consider making this a monthly or semi-regular event. We sure could use use a little happy disco action in the community right now, and next time, I'll be better prepared to stay until the last track plays.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

Thanks for taking the time to write this. This event was the culmination of a year of work for us and it has the be the most satisfying experience of the entire project up until now. We are so happy about the response we have gotten about Mineshaft and I couldn't have asked for a better turn out of happy faces and dancers. I love how you touched on the "rave" feel of the event. Ultimately, at the end of the day, we want people to be dancing and losing themselves in the environment, we want to let the greater forces of melody and rhythm be in the driver seat. That was what the real rave scene and the real disco scene was all about.

We are excited about 2008. We have multiple collaborations in the works. We will be focusing on throwing events that hit the heart and getting some new to SF musical guests out to play for our boys. Keep your eyes pealed.