The City! Its lights, its sounds, its voices. This article has nothing to do with those things, but the Rev does lay it down on a new venue for you to do those things you do.
As San Francisco tries to find its latest identity in the wake of
the dot-bomb blast and waning days if it's lamest mayoral duck, a
number of underground warehouses are vying for the right to be the
vanguard of hip. So it was with a hopeful curiosity that I checked
out the Xenodrome, a cavernous space at 25th and Potrero-right in the
heart of Latino gang gunfight country.
After having $13 siphoned from their wallets, patrons were
treated to an atmosphere reminiscent of that in German U-boat during
its fifth week at sea. Thick with cigarette smoke, carbon dioxide,
kerosene exhaust and the tropical humidity of smelly sweat, the "air"
was practically non-existent. Apparently, whoever runs the joint has
a complete lack of understanding when it comes to simple air
circulation. Two fans in the front rooms did little more than pump
the stale, stifling gasses right back at gasping, dizzy partygoers.
It was around 1:30 before someone had the good sense to open a rear
door, thus allowing in the only outside air of the evening.
Suffocated dancers quickly filled the Trance room adjacent to the open
door more for the fresh breeze than for the DJ's tunes.
While this kind of environment may be hard for EnhAnced people to
take, it seems to be a natural breeding ground for drunks. Bars are a
necessary evil at all-night dance parties since booze provides
promoters with additional revenue that normally doesn't flow from drug
sales (unless, of course, the promoter is also the dealer). And
drunks there were-falling all over other guests during performances,
groping any girl that happened to be within convenient reach, and
generally shuffling listlessly around the room in pursuit of someone
just as fucked up as they were. But hey, when you're clothes are
catalogue-plain and you've the attitude of a wannabe, it's not like
you're getting the point anyhow. Wouldn't they be better off at, say,
Drunkenness and frottage seem to go hand-in-butt, especially when
the passages are as claustrophobic as some of the ones in Xenodrome.
The access between the bar area and the main performance room featured
a dangerously uneven floor and a space wide enough for only two people
to pass through at a time. A steel ladder on one end of the passage
guaranteed dental surgery if you missed your step and fell forward.
Pushy drunks had no problem bulldozing their way through this gauntlet
and copping as many feels as they could along the way. But feels
weren't the only things being grabbed. At least one guest complained
about having his wallet lifted by a pickpocket.
But the most disturbing aspect of the party was the welcome
presence of senseless, drunken violence. According a Xenodrome
resident, it's perfectly okay to respond to a shove with a head butt.
He went on to add that if you're assaulted, you should "take care of
business" on your own. Go ahead-smash teeth, break bones, crash a
bottle on someone's head-it's not a party until something gets broken!
Especially if you spent the night drinking at a bar and failed to find
any sex prospects before last call, then showed up to this party on a
trim hunt. NOTE: be sure to acquaint yourself with a member of the
house before engaging in a brawl, as this will insulate you from an
repercussions after the dust settles.
However, even the tragedy of the environs could not stifle the
positively mesmerizing performances of Apsara and The Extra Action
Marching Band. While the latter needs no introduction to you
scenesters, the former group is comprised of ex-members from the
hyper-kinetic dance-n-percussion ensemble, AWD. Having lost none of
their explosive acrobatic brilliance, Apsara captivated the audience
with their astounding choreography, theatrical presentation, and aural
thunder. The mystical posturing and fire spinning have become a
little trite among the desert-experienced set, but even that did not
detract from the obvious passion that this troupe packs into their
Also notable were the DJs lined up for this gig. Having heard so
much of the same tripe for the last several years, it's getting harder
and harder to impress me-even when I'm high. As my good friend Josho
so aptly put it: "Sometimes you get these people who craft rich and
vibrant layers of sound. But most times, what you get is 'DJ Mikey
and his two turntables'." Hats off, Brother J, because the sounds
grooving at Xenodrome during the Swerve party were definitely that
deep, grab-you-by-the-bass-and-make-you-shake-that-booty kind of
experience. If DJ Mikey was there, he was only playing a limited set
in the Trance lounge.
This is hardly the first time I've seen a great show at a crummy
venue. Xenodrome will undoubtedly host more events at their space, and
the space itself has a lot of potential. Whether or not the Xenos
deserve your patronage remains to be seen. In the meantime, keep an
eye out for other contenders to the throne. With all this space on
the market, it's going to be a great year for those who've just been
waiting for the right time to put it up, put it out, and get it on.