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Memorial Day music mashup: Rock out on a yacht, party poolside and headbang with burgers and beer

Wax Motif performs in San Diego on July 24, 2014. | Araya Diaz/Getty Images

Officially speaking, Memorial Day is a holiday to honor those who have died in service of our country. But in practice, the final weekend in May is known as the kickoff party of the summer. It’s a time for loading onto boats, rolling out towels on the beach, firing up the barbeque and trying to avoid dripping ketchup and mustard all over your cleanest white duds.

This weekend offers plenty of opportunities to cut loose as the days get longer and the nights warmer. We aren’t going to be able to cover every single event billed as a Memorial Day celebration, so we’re going to point you to a handful of events that revolve around getting out and moving your body on the dancefloor. Read on to find out where you can get down on a boat, party poolside and headbang to some heavy psych rock sounds.

Pier Pressure Yacht Party 

Pier 3
Sunday, May 29, 9 p.m. | $35+ 

If you’ve ever dreamed of partying on a boat like Andy Samberg and T-Pain, this cruise around the Bay on the San Francisco Spirit Yacht may be your chance. Three DJs, three fully-stocked bars and three dance areas take over three decks for an evening of moving and mingling against beautiful Bay views of Treasure Island, Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate and San Francisco’s skyline. In true Memorial Day fashion, it’s recommended that you wear white. (CJC)

Summertime Radness Pool Party

The Phoenix Hotel, 601 Eddy St. 
Sunday, May 29, 1 p.m. | $25 – $40

Soak up the rock star vibes while listening to beats by a diverse lineup of DJs. The Phoenix Hotel is the known for putting up some of the biggest names in rock & roll, from David Bowie to Kurt Cobain, and for throwing epic pool parties. Australian party-starter and ghetto house pioneer Wax Motif tops the bill.

Support comes from a range of selectors: Musubi, another DJ from Down Under, is known for setting an ethereal mood with spacey textures and twitchy drums; n808 (Nate-oh-eight) has released music on San Francisco’s very own Dirtybird Records and co-founded the SF-based Admit One Records and is in his element when pumping out nasty basslines and gritty, minimalist “trippy-ass techno” grooves. (CJC)


The Great Northern, 119 Utah St. 
Sunday, May 29, 2 p.m. | $10 – $30 

This 12-hour party bops with beats headlined by PhD and internationl EDM artist Max Cooper, supported by Doc Martin, Holmar, Sleight of Hand and others. But this party is not simply infused with music. Food trucks, live art and aerial performances round out this indoor/outdoor festival celebrating creativity of all kinds. (CJC)


Public Works, 161 Erie St. 
Sunday, May 29, 9 p.m. | $15 – $25

Atlanta-based musical artist Leonce brings his blend of experimental electronica and “American Urban” to Polyglamorous’ fabulous dance party and full house of DJs. Bay Area DJ veteran, Hard French alum and Chulita Vinyl Club’s Brown Amy spins everything from oldie 45s to ’90s jams, with Polyglamorous resident DJs BEYA and Mark O’Brien also bumping out beats. (CJC)

Heavy Psych Sounds Fest

Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St
Saturday-Sunday, May 28-29, Noon

They say you aren’t supposed to wear white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day. Well… chances are most of the bands on this lineup wear black year round and take a dim view of the conventions of polite society. This two-day celebration of all things stoner, doom and psych metal, hosted by Thee Parkside, will feature local acts—including Disastroid (SF) and HTSOB (Oakland)—as well as sultans of sludge from across the country, such as Weedeater (Wilmington, N.C.) and Dead Meadow (Washington, D.C.).

The festival is billed as a block party, to be held on the grounds surrounding the neighborhood pub and rock club. Gates open at noon and the music starts at 1 p.m., so lather on the sunscreen and be prepared for beer, bong rips, burgers and plenty of heavy grooves. (NV)