There's few things better than the Saturday after Christmas in The City: plenty of street parking, the bridge and tunnel crowd stuck with relatives in the East Bay, and the true party people at the free monthly Italo-disco party at The Knockout.
“There used to be tons of stuff like this in San Francisco,” says Galaxy Radio's DJ Casey Belway, spinning since 1995. “Venues like this are drying up fast and we love being one of the last underground free parties that I know of.”
The three-and-a-half-year-old Galaxy Radio, the “bastard love child” of Go BANG!, takes over the outer Mission institution every fourth Saturday, says Belway.
It moved into one of The City's last great dives a year ago, and this week's lineup is stacked with some of the city's best mixers. Saturday's menu includes Italo-disco, disco, space music and house on vinyl from Belway – performing as l'elephant – as well as selections from Un Homme, Johan Churchill and Kevin Meenan of Push the Feeling.
The Galaxy Radio collective has no leader, but rather “active members” such as Inner Richmond resident Belway and Churchill, whom Belway calls “probably one of the most exciting live dance acts in S.F. right now.” (Churchill, who performs under the name Plaza, has an EP out this month on Voltaire Records.)
The Saturday after Christmas brings out people who are always down to party, says Belway, adding, “I don't think we've ever had an empty dance floor at 2 a.m. The people are going there until they turn the lights on.”
Expect cheap, strong spirits, little pretense and some multicolored lasers. “We're a space dance disco party and every space dance disco party needs a multi-colored laser. It wouldn't be a space dance party without one,” he says.
Italo-disco came pumping and buzzing out of Italy in the '70s and '80s, fusing native and continental pop to infectious drum machine, synth and hypnotic vocoder. Love, robots and space themes – sometimes all three – dominate.
“Why aren't people more obsessed with that right now?” Belway asks. “You could say it was the influence of Italian futurism, the emergence of computing power and synthesizers and drum machines reshaping dance, but at the end of the day, it's just nice to see a robot dance. No one ever talks about falling in love with robots anymore and I think that's the greatest subject.”
IF YOU GO
with l'elephant, Un Homme, Johan Churchill, Kevin Meenan
When: 10 p.m. Dec. 27
Where: Knockout, 3223 Mission St., S.F.
Contact: (415) 550-6994, www.theknockoutsf.com