Listening to Adriatique amongst a comfortable crowd, layers of lasers, and a brand-new sound system at 1015 Folsom was special!
Seven months ago, I arrived in the Bay Area, knowing I only had a short period of time to explore its bustling club scene before moving to Las Vegas in the fall. So, I hit the ground running, soaking in all the house and techno vibes I possibly could. Along the way, I found my tribe at fun-forward venues like The Midway, Audio, Public Works, Halcyon, and Monarch. But one club continued to elude me, yet remained on the top of my list to visit before hitting the dusty trail to the desert. That establishment is the legendary 1015 Folsom.
There’s so much history surrounding this ultra-inclusive multi-genre hotspot and hype following its rise in the late ’80s after Ira Sandler purchased and rebranded SoMa’s Das Klub. The longest-running club in the city features five special rooms spread throughout three stories, taking visitors on exhilarating side quests as they navigate the halls in search of their next experience. I particularly loved the feel of Lin Lounge, located in the basement for the ultimate underground rave effect. It features a low ceiling filled with LED chasers, and while this area was closed for the night, the thought of it has me ready to book a trip back ASAP.
On this particular evening, 1015 Folsom was celebrating its 34th anniversary, and the festivities were centered in the main room. This would ultimately make for one of the best nights I’ve had on the dancefloor in San Francisco. Melodic house and techno duo Adriatique was the booked headliner, and HIDRA warmed up the atmosphere as their direct support. In addition, Afterlife regular and fabric London-supported artist Marino Canal had the honor of closing out the party. The club had just installed a brand-new d&b audiotechnik sound system from JK Sound, and I was ready to soak in all the vibrations.
With the party landing on a Sunday, I wasn’t sure what to expect regarding turnout.
One thing that I struggle with the most in this scene is being sardined in the crowd. As a business, clubs are motivated to sell to the limit of their capacity. At the very least, this makes for an uncomfortable experience when trying to bust out your best dance moves. In the tightest spaces, people get trapped in the danger zone. While 1015 Folsom is one of the most popular clubs in the city and known to fill their rooms, their anniversary party felt more like an intimate gathering with family. Often a back row dweller, for the first time in years, I found myself stomping my feet in the front row, a smile plastered on my face and not a care in the world.
Paying close attention to the sound quality, I was highly impressed with how well I could hear all the intricate melodics falling out of the speakers that Adriatique was spinning. Sure, the bass makes the body go boom, but the top-end details are what makes the brain go ping. 1015 Folsom found the perfect balance. The lighting was the second MVP at the party. You should have seen my jaw hit the floor when a sea of lasers swept above my head. I ran to the upstairs mezzanine to get a bird’s eye view and giggled with pure bliss as the lasers formed a grid ceiling over the crowd. Take notes, San Francisco; this is how you make an impression!
Easy access to the bars filled with friendly and engaging staff and the plethora of bathrooms to choose from took my euphoria to the next level. That latter detail may sound silly, but it’s a game-changer when you don’t want to miss a minute of the action. However, my timing was off, and I missed the confetti drop, which, deduced by the roar that ripped through the building, was the most magical moment of the night. When I returned, the floor was decorated with color, and attendees were having the time of their lives bopping balloons around the room.
When Marino Canal took over the decks, I felt musically fulfilled and impressed by 1015 Folsom’s attention to detail.
It’s easy to see why this particular venue has remained open for 34 years. They’ve figured out how to keep their patrons happy, curating their rooms with beat makers who have their fingers on the pulse of the scene while staying ahead of the pack with regular upgrades and renovations. I do not doubt that 1015 Folsom will continue cultivating and nurturing club culture for another few decades to come. My only regret as I walked out the door was that I had waited this long to get here.