Lost synth music now found at ‘Machine’ 

click to enlarge Born to synthesize: Ryan Massari incorporates old and new electronic music during his DJ night. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Born to synthesize: Ryan Massari incorporates old and new electronic music during his DJ night.

There was a period in the late 1980s and early ’90s when producers began mastering the art of sampling and sequencing in synth pop, techno and house music.

The sound was lost and forgotten, according to Ryan Massari, who, with Sean Mattison (aka seandonson) and Gabrielle Jones started “Machine.” The monthly party dedicated to synthesizer-based music happens every second Wednesday at Showdown in San Francisco.

The name “Machine” is a nod to both the electronic instruments used and the artificial sounds generated. The event, Massari says, is “a rebellious jukebox of synth music.”

Massari — well aware that synth music encompasses broad criteria — lists the genres covered at the event: “Italo-disco to new wave to Norwegian pop, house and techno, and maybe even some newer dubstep,” he says.

Dancing is encouraged.

“We’re usually surprised at what people dance to at ‘Machine,’” Massari says. “It’s never what you’d expect.”

Despite its central location, Massari says hosting a midweek event is sometimes challenging. “It’s odd because it’s [Showdown] on Sixth Street and we can have either a dead night or a crazy night,” he says.

Showdown, the most recent incarnation of 10 Sixth St., has been completely revamped.

“First off, it doesn’t smell anymore,” Massari jokes.

Bartender Anita Dah and general manager Johnny Venetti run a tight ship, along with resident sweetheart Louie, a rotund bulldog who “gives the best drool snuggles.”

“Johnny is chill and a DJ himself,” Massari says. “Anita is a tough mudder who makes delicious drinks and keeps drunkards and random crackheads in check.”

Working cooperatively with Showdown, “Machine” has thrived comfortably in its quirky musical niche.

It’s “a history lesson of machine music,” Massari says. But don’t let the academic tone scare you. “We just want people to dance their asses off.”



Where: Showdown, 10 Sixth St., S.F.
When: 10 p.m. Wednesday
Tickets: Free
Contact: machinesf6thst.tumblr.com
Note: 21+


Where: 10 Sixth St., San Francisco
Info: Call (415) 503-0684 or visit www.showdownsf.com

Showdown, described as an “urban DJ saloon,” is a respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown San Francisco. Its decor is warm and welcoming, complete with soft, vintage lighting and a retro-looking bar. ShowDogs sausages are available for delivery upon request.

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