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Popscene

Indie Weekly Moves to Rickshaw

As 2011 arrives, San Francisco’s premier party for Britpop, indie rock, and more, is leaving its long-time home at 330 Ritch for new digs at Rickshaw Stop. The last night of the weekly party at 330 Ritch arrives tonigh with a dance party featuring DJs Aaron, Nako, Miles, and Omar. Popscene resumes January 6th at Rickshaw Stop with a housewarming party featuring Blaqk Audio (Davey Havok and Jade Puget of AFI). We checked in with Aaron Axelsen, who co-founded the party back in 1995, for details.

SFS: Can you give a quick recap of the history of Popscene for our uninitiated readers?

AA: Popscene was launched many years ago at the Cat Club, our first home, by four DJs and indie music lovers — me, Omar Perez, Eric Shea, and Jeremy Goldstein — that actually all first met at a My Bloody Valentine concert at Slim’s.

We all shared an affinity for Britpop and the UK indie scene, as well as having an insatiable appetite for music, and decided to launch a club night that best reflected these passions of ours. At Popscene's inception there wasn’t a local indie rock, Britpop, '60s soul/mod club so we more-or-less ventured into uncharted territory together. We simply wanted to create a hangout for like-minded people who were into those genres, and hence popscene was born. Two of the bands we first booked to play Popscene were the Dandy Warhols and Brian Jonestown Massacre, as documented in the film DIG!

SFS: What led to the move to 330 Ritch?

AA: We were at Cat Club until 1998. The original owner of 330 Ritch, Kirk Harper, was an old-school scooter/60s soul/mod DJ who had just opened the club, and he was a huge fan of Popscene. He basically began courting us, and he was really aggressive and passionate with trying to move Popscene to his venue. He persuaded us, and we went for it.

SFS: Why are you moving to Rickshaw Stop now?

AA: It’s kind of complicated, though it’s a very amicable departure with 330 Ritch. We’ve had a an absolutely incredible run here, but basically, me and the crew just felt it was time for a change of scenery and fresh atmosphere for Popscene.

Also, we’ve done a lot of special one-off shows at Rickshaw and New Year’s parties at Rickshaw over the years, so we already have a relationship established with our new home. I love the area, too, and its much more accessible to Popscene's clientele and demographic.

What I love about Rickshaw is it embodies the spirit and aesthetic of Popscene six or seven nights a week. Over the years at 330 Ritch, we became a little bit more isolated, and really 330 Ritch's lone indie/electro/rock party and live music outlet.

SFS: What can we expect in 2011?

AA: Popscene's brand has always been ubiquitous with emerging and exciting new bands, and sweaty DJ dance parties, and we plan to carry on this tradition at our new home Rickshaw in 2011.

We pride ourselves on being a dance club where you can hear Arcade Fire, Bloody Beatroots, David Bowie, Daft Punk, the Smiths, Crystal Castles, the Strokes, La Roux, Rolling Stones, etc. We are also going to continue with Popscene's inexpensive tickets, as the club is primarily a hobby and labor of love for us more than a profession. It’s important for us to keep tickets as low as possible for our base to enjoy our events.

SFS: Can you tell us about anything that has yet been announced?

AA: We’re bringing Chicago's Hood Internet back in February with Brazilian electro producers Database, and we’re currently looking at some great new talent to bring to popscene in 2011, like Ellie Goulding, Hurts, Kids Of 88, Gypsy and The Cat, Jamaica, Lesands, Mona, Wild Nothing, Art Or Science, Violens, and much more.

Read about Aaron Axelsen's Top 5 favorite memories at 330 Ritch on SF Station's new nightlife blog, Pulse: http://bit.ly/hTGS6F.