Friday night J, the boyfriend and I braved 1015 Folsom to see Ritchie Hawtin and were rewarded with one of the most fun nights out in a long time, one that reminded me of why it's worth going out to hear big-name DJs do their thing, and also made me think that 1015 is coming back as the club it used to be.
We stopped off at PeePlay's going-away party at the Gray Area Gallery's new AV space on Folsom, had a drink, and generally milled around with the other artsy types looking awkward with drinks in thier hands. CLAWS provided a passable set of downtempo kitsch, followed by Jonas Rheinhardt, a three piece consisting of Moog and sequencers, bass guitar, and basic drum kit in the space prog vein of Stereolab or Fujiyama and Miyagi. It was an okay place to hang out and have a pre-party drink, but if GAG is going to continue to charge $10 for their parties and standard SoMa bar prices for drinks, I'd like something that feels like more than a really cool college party for my money.
We arrived at 1015 around midnight. We had missed Magda's set but caugh the last half of Hearthrob. As we stood in the front bar waiting for drinks I noticed that there was already a lot of dancing going on. Like his labelmates Hearthrob is a disciple of minimal, but there was nothing low-key about the energy.
When I last saw Hawtin at Mighty I complained about the crowd, which struck me as having just come straight to the party from casual Friday drinks with their workmates. This time the crowd was much groovier, and walking through the smoking area I heard at least a half dozen languages and accents. When we finally went down on the floor there was plenty of room to dance, but also plenty of crowd energy to keep us going. It was also nice to see that the Gestapo-like attitude of the security that previously prevailed at 1015 has given way to a much more relaxed approach, such that people seemed to feel that they really could let themselves go for the party and not worry about getting tossed out.
As for Hawtin, all I can say is that it's nice to know that there are DJs who still really care about the music, their performance, and their skill. I haven't see a DJ that focused on what he was doing, or as able to work a crowd, in a long while. Hawtin isn't even so much a DJ as someone who produces new music out of the scraps of other tracks live; we later remarked that his performance seemed very ephemeral, not because it was forgettable, but because he took any recognizable song elements and recombined them so that you had the feeling of being caught up in an irresistible flow of beats rather than listening to someone putting on one track after another.
We left around three as the crowd was beginning to thin but the energy was showing no signs of dissipation. It was easily one of the best nights out we've had in several months, and I hope that some more fun nights at 1015 are ahead of us for the summer.