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Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008

House, revisited

Classic sounds heat local underground

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   In a dance-music age when how much an artist tours is almost always synonymous with how many records they've produced, there are a rare (and lucky) few who are busy trotting the globe based purely on their merits as disc jockeys. Mark Farina is one such anomaly, as is his female counterpart, the legendary dance floor damager DJ Heather. It may be her incredibly humble and inviting demeanor when interacting with fans, or her no-nonsense-no-frills personality behind the decks that keeps the punters coming back again and again, but more likely than anything, it's the fact that everyone who catches a set from Heather live-from the uninitiated dabbler to the seasoned house music vet-can always agree that "she destroyed it."

  Catch her latest thrashing on Saturday, Aug. 16 for special one-off event at Red Light (1758 N. Water St.). Jonn Hawley (Soul Fuel) and J.C. Disko (Lost n' Found) open the show. Music 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Cover charge: $5.

  Two of a kind: Speaking of Red Light… Chicago's tech-house partners-in-crime, Justin Long and Justin Long, drop down one night earlier for a heated jack-athon that promises plenty head bobbing. As longtime musical friends and partners, Long and Alena make may SmartBar Chicago their monthly home, but on Friday, Aug. 15, Milwaukee gets a hot taste of tech twinge from the Dotbleep crew. Sweatbands recommended.

  Friday, Aug. 15 at Red Light (1758 N. Water St.). Music 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Cover charge: $5. Ladies free before midnight.

  Trendsetting: Party-rock DJs take note: Underground house is alive and well in San Francisco's Bay Area. Homero Espinosa quietly bucks such overt trends of electronic irony fueled by thin mustaches and cans of PBR. For Espinosa, his tactics began in the early1990s, when the saccharine sounds of trance and Euro-pop saturated the West Coast rave scene. Even then, the producer/DJ stuck to what he knew, eventually forging a relationship with producer Allen Craig and forming Yerba Buena Discos, a DJ and music production cooperative. Their first track, "Soul Power 03," packed enough punch to land on Tony Hewitt's Detour Recordings label and eventually helped catapult the critical moxie of his own underground deep house imprint. On the decks, Espinosa works crowds in sultry smooth lines defined by bass, horns and tempo, inspiring all to remember that great music doesn't have to be a lip-glossed caricature of itself.

  Go deep on Saturday, Aug. 23 for The Step Up at Three (722 N. Milwaukee St.) Milwaukee's Mr. Timms (12" Players) and TJK (The Vinyl Department) open the show. Music 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Cover charge: $5.

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