Popscene’s Big Move

The crew behind Popscene celebrates the end of an era tomorrow as they close up shop at 330 Ritch and prepare to move the weekly party to Rickshaw Stop. The party, which focuses on Britpop, indie rock, electro, and more, is often responsible for introducing emerging artists to San Francisco and the United States just before they blow up on the national level. We asked co-founder Aaron Axelsen to share his Top 5 best memories from Popscene at 330 Ritch.

In his own words:

1. A little new British rock band called Muse plays to about 150 people in early 1999, their SF live debut. These UK juggernauts would victoriously return to play Popscene again in May 2004. That time the queue started at 10am the day before the show and ultimately stretched for several blocks. We had to rent generators to power the building for Muse’s insane performance and light show.

2. All 4 members of Blur were at Popscene in early 1998, hanging out and boozin’ it up a day before their Fillmore show. I dropped “Song 2” on the decks, which had just crashed into the Top 10 on the Billboard radio charts. The boys proceeded to enthusiastically sing and pogo around the dance floor, much to the delight of the packed club full of anglophiles and Blur fanatics

3. We’ve had seventy-five percent of the Smiths at Popscene. We once had the rhythm section of Mike Joyce and Andy Rouke guest DJ with us, and one of our Popscene anniversary events was hosted by legendary guitar guru Johnny Marr. He signed Smiths paraphernalia for an autograph line that stretched outside the club for hours.

4. We’re all very proud of some of the incredible new talent we’ve hosted at our indie club night over the years at 330 Ritch, including Muse, the Killers, Vampire Weekend, Amy Winehouse‘s only show ever in the Bay Area, Phoenix, Mumford and Sons, Cut Copy, Robyn, Editors, Bloc Party, Calvin Harris (w/full live band), Lily Allen, etc.

5. M.I.A. just showed up one night and asked to play. We quickly scrambled together the necessary equipment and she went on to perform an unannounced thirty-minute set. The following morning, I was pelted with angry emails from fans that had just found out about the show they had missed. If only Twitter had existed back then.

The weekly party at Rickshaw Stop kicks of January 6th with Blaqk Audio.


  1. […] from San Francisco’s nightlife scene. For several years, until 2011, 330 Ritch was home to Popscene, where Muse, Mumford & Sons, Amy Winehouse and Phoenix performed early in their […]

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