SF embraces beats from across pond at Milk Bar 

click to enlarge DJ Mario Muse
  • DJ Mario Muse, a southerner and founder of the monthly tribute to Morrissey, The Smiths and Britpop at Milk Bar, loves living in The City.
Cold, foggy, damp, brooding: Haight Street on a Saturday night in the summer might as well be London in the fall. Maybe that explains The City’s deep and abiding affection for all things British, including the monthly tribute to Morrissey and The Smiths known as “The Queen Is Dead,” which returns to Milk Bar on Saturday.

“I really do think San Francisco has a special love for it,” says show founder and promoter Mario Muse. “There’s a huge audience for it. The party going on and being successful this long just proves it.”

Two and half years ago, Milk Bar’s owner — a big Smiths fan — wanted to do a night dedicated to the iconic, proto-emo 1980s band from the U.K. Muse had been part of another Smiths night that had died.

“There really wasn’t something special for people that were big Morrissey and Smiths fans,” he says.

Thirty months later, “It’s always pretty much packed,” he says. “It’s always an early dance floor and it’ll continue that way until last call at 2 in the morning.”

Morrissey’s theatrical crooning, poetic lyrics, angst, alienation and wit has long appealed to Muse, 32, a jumped-up country boy from the South.

“I’m a gay man, and especially growing up in the South, I dealt with a lot of things. I was harassed growing up and was always uncomfortable being gay. Ever since being here for 10-plus years I don’t feel that way, ever. I know that I could be who I am and not have to worry about it.

“I feel like every day I find something new here, I learn something new. I find friends every day. I just feel very fortunate. I grew up in a very small town so every day I leave the house I’m so thankful to live in such a diverse city that I could be myself in. That’s one of the things that drives me.” Muse DJs with the program Serato on a Mac and plays a lot of Lush, Pulp, Blur and Gang of Four.

Fellow residents Jacob Fury and Maren Christensen also branch out into Brit-pop, post-punk and modern U.K. material like Franz Ferdinand.

The younger college crowd shouldn’t put off anyone, Muse said. “We welcome all types of people. It’s just about the music and dancing and having a good time.”


The Queen is Dead

Where: Milk Bar, 1840 Haight St., S.F.

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $5 or free with RSVP at https://qidlovesyou.eventbrite.com

Contact: (415) 387-6455, www.milksf.com



Bassnectar: The Bay Area’s massively popular hippie-techno-bass DJ returns to play the gorgeous East Bay theater with KOAN Sound and Andreilien. 7:30 p.m., $37.50. Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, (510) 302-2250, www.thefoxoakland.com


Gold Panda: The Essex-born Hamburg resident crushes it on his June debut release on Lucky Shiner and Ghostly records, “Half of Where You Live.” He appears with Slow Magic, Voices of Black and DJ Dials. 9 p.m. Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday, $18. Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F., (415) 771-1421, www.theindependentsf.com

Saturday Night Soul Party: DJs Lucky, Paul Paul, Phengren Oswald spin 1960s soul 45s to bootyshaking, heart-aching effect. 10 p.m., $10. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia St., S.F., (415) 552-7788, www.elbo.com

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David Downs

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