One of Oakland's most beloved, underground hip-hop and dance nights, thePeople, celebrates its seventh anniversary at The New Parish Saturday.
ThePeople residents Cali, Cecil, Heylove* and Orfeu Negro spin hip-hop, world, afrobeat, jazz, breakbeat, house and soul in the large yet intimate venue near the 19th Street BART station. This week, the every-fourth-Saturday party also includes live watercolor painting from Emmy-winning artist James Gales, artisanal vendors and local food, such as Taste of Africa's Cameroon cuisine.
Richmond-based DJ Cali (Chris McAllister) said thePeople's seventh is a happy, if unlikely, anniversary. Underground parties tend to have a short lifespan, but the ones that last tend to have a few things in common. They don't jump on trends, and they focus on serving the crowd without any pretension.
“Really, I like to just call it good music. It could be anything from Latin vibes to African vibes to jazz to breakbeat to house or soul. … No pop music. No radio music. That's not even on our radar,” Cali says.
McAllister is a 40-year-old Bay Area lifer who grew up in San Francisco and Berkeley: “I'm an East Bay kid,” he says.
DJing for 18 years, Cali says spinning publicly grew out of “collecting music forever … just my love for good music and just wanting to share my love of music and create events that I would want to go to and hopefully other people want to go, too.”
Established in 2007 at a now-closed spot called The Oasis (at the end of the flyer era and the rise of social media), thePeople was an immediate hit: “The first one was a success and we just kept going from there,” says Cali.
The party moved to The New Parish four years ago, place that was “an amazing fit” due to its great sound, outdoor area, two floors and dance floor.
Cali has trouble picking his favorite parties over the years: “I remember playing live with Amp Fiddler. … But really it's some of the guests we've had. … Ian Friday, Jeremy Ellis … Those were just amazing nights.”
Cali would like to bring thePeople to New York and Los Angeles, and he looks forward to eighth, ninth and 10th anniversaries to come.
“It's all about the people. Everyone is welcome. We don't discriminate on anyone. If you love the music, then this is the party for you.”
IF YOU GO
thePeople 7th Anniversary
with Cali, Cecil, Heylove*, Orfeu Negro
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: New Parish, 1743 San Pablo Ave., Oakland
Tickets: $5 to $10, 21+
Contact: (510) 444-7474, www.thenewparish.com