I was invited to go to a party in Oakland last Saturday. It is called "People's party" and my friends were raving about the great vibe you find at this place. So we went. Brad driving, me giving directions (thanks to my Google phone).
We got there at 11pm (which is fairly early for clubbin) and the place was packed. It definitely exceeded the maximum allowed occupancy as it took us about 10 minutes to squeeze through people to get to the back room and to the patio. People were friendly, dancing to African music, eating African food and drinking tea (which I loved) in addition to the standard bar drinks. You could smell some weed in the air, and everyone was taking it easy. So my friends were right, it does feel like a best friend's house party, but with 10 times more people than is healthy.
There were only two things wrong with this party:
- there was a line outside (Why do American clubs try to keep a visible line of people freezing their tails outside on the street? Is this a marketing strategy? Can someone explain why you do not see any lines in clubs outside of the US?)
- everybody knew about it and everybody went there => there was absolutely no space to dance
It was 12:30 and we bailed out. Our Google phone came to the rescue again... we looked up another party that night... at the underground venue (you need to call a hotline to get the address). Q Burns (our favorite DJ) was playing and it was only few blocks from our loft in San Francisco! So we headed back through the Bay Bridge into the industrial neighborhood at the very south of SOMA.
Finding underground parties requires a bit of patience. First drive to the place Google Maps arrow points to. Then get out of the car and start walking around carefully listening to warehouses. You will get to a door on the side of a dark warehouse. There is no line, no bouncers, no lights, no visible signs of anything happening. You know that you are at the right place because there is definitely a loud house music playing behind that door. You go in, and there is a handful of people who check your ID, take the cover, and let you in. The dancefloor is mostly dark. Few lights point at the bare walls of the warehouse, cars and machinery is moved to one side of the hall, and makeshift bar serves a limited selection of drinks. There is plenty of space for dancing and few dozen people are practicing their house dance routines. There is not stage, no go-go dancers, no posers, no skimpy dressed girls. Just you, them, great music, and great vibe.