Ah, Labor Day weekend. Your last chance to wear white pants and white sandals (though my best friend tells me they’re awful all year round). As for your weekend partying, skip the beach — summer isn’t over until the 22nd, so you still have time. Instead, welcome back NYC’s nightlife and stay cityside as we celebrate an extra day off.
Take it easy on Friday night — you have a very long weekend in front of you. We recommend that you schlep around Williamsburg and keep it grimy. House of Yes is devoting its lofty warehouse space to seven hours of dub, minimal techno, electro, and all things sinister and rave-y for tonight’s Spastik dance party. The lineup is a ragtag team of locals from the seedy underworld of Bushwick after-hours and mayhem, including Le Sphynxxx, DJ Ursa, Jan Woo, Cobra Krames, and Anton Glamb. Expect many dazed-out Brooklynites and sweat-soaked booty shorts at tonight’s fete — tickets are $7 at the door. For more partying into the wee hours, head to Summer Slam, a secret warehouse party (location to be revealed here) featuring those DJs who can afford to duck out of their gigs to spin to their friends. The night features the breezy disco stylings of Prince Language and Lloydski, the rap and bounce of Dirty Finger, and tons of amped-up scenesters thanks to a live performance by Ninjasonik. The night is free before 4 a.m. — which means it won’t actually start until about 1 a.m. — and $10 after. That is some real dedication right there. As for us, we’ll be at Savalas for the familiarity and a mix of hip-hop, New Jack Swing, r&b, reggae, and such. Nocturnal Sound Krew’s DJ Jami headlines the night alongside fellow Williamsburger Mike Famous, and D.C.’s Andrew Jaye and Decibelle.
Saturday is devoted to Fat Beats. The legendary underground hip-hop store closes its doors this weekend after years of catering to the truest backpackers around, and are throwing an in-store party worthy of their rap nerd-dom. Just Blaze, Primo, Max Glazer, DJ Scratch, and Pete Rock are scheduled to play, among others, so while the early-evening party is free, we recommend you get there very early if you want to see any of it. it goes from 3 to 9, full schedule here. For more hip-hop, head into Brooklyn for the Rub. Resident DJs Cosmo Baker, DJ Ayres, and DJ Eleven bring Vancouver’s DJ Rhek and Brand into tonight’s mix of hip-hop, r&b, reggae, and general party-jam mayhem. For something without a long line, head to K&M Bar for local crowd-pleasers Soul Imperial. The duo command the seemingly outdoor (no windows!) space with a breezy mix of hip-hop, ’80s and ’90s pop jams, and sing-along reggae. Not to mention the open bar from 10-11 and the fact that the bartenders are fondly dubbed “The Stud Emporium” — for good reason, too.
Labor Day weekend also means the return of gigantic trance/electro/rave fest Electro Zoo to Randall’s Island. The two-day festival begins on Saturday and hosts four tents of music, a million DJs, and the entire state of New Jersey. This is for the candy-ravers and Pacha-inclined house fiend in you; to be honest, the smallest tent — hosted by Red Bull Music Academy — holds the most appeal to us. Specifically, head over to catch the impossibly catchy stylings of Fake Blood, experimental trippy meanderings of Flying Lotus, and the familiar wobble of the U.K. dubstep guru Rusko. Chemical Brothers, Swedish House Mafia’s Axwell, Detroit techno DJ Richie Hawtin, and the ADD-inducing Pretty Lights headline their respective stages, but we recommend you get there early for sets by Tom Middleton, the now-pop stars Major Lazer, Dutch house innovator Afrojack, and minimalist techno Spaniard Paco Osuna.
Sunday brings Electric Zoo Day Two, and a whole new set of awesomeness to the festival’s Red Bull Music Academy’s stage (filled, hopefully, by a couple thousand club kids still hung over from the night before). The RBMA’s stage resembles a finely tuned meeting of our favorite dance labels, featuring a headlining set by Bassnectar along with Fool’s Gold’s A-Trak, Mad Decent Diplo, Ed Banger’s DJ Mehdi, along with Fixed’s JDH & Dave P and the easy groove of Aeroplane. The main stage is a little trance-heavy for our tastes — Armin van Buuren and Moby headline what’s bound to be as much of a light show as a DJ set — but we will definitely make our way over there for a house set by Laidback Luke. Tickets are $96 per day, $157 for both — get them here.
For a different ferry trip and an entirely different use of your day off, head over to Governors Island Sunday for the Parked Food Truck Festival. The glutton in us cannot think of a better way to celebrate a day off in New York City. Trucks include Jamaican Dutchy, Rickshaw Dumpling, Red Hook Lobster Hound, and a ton of others. Locally brewed beers are also featured to wash it down. The afternoon feeding frenzy is free, and the prices range from $3 to $12, so bring some sunblock and your stretchy pants. If you’re looking for something mellower, head into Bushwick for our daytime party of choice, Tiki Disco. Residents Eli Escobar, Lloydski, and Andy Pry ease you out of your Sunday scaries and into the throes of some delicious Roberta’s pizza and frozen margaritas with a mix of disco, house, and general good times.
On Monday, sleep in late, find a roof or a BBQ, and take it easy. If you must get in one last hurrah, get over to the Fool’s Gold’s Day Off mega-bash. The party starts at noon and features just about everyone awesome affiliated with the label: Just Blaze and “The Brothers Malkovich” (A-Trak and Chromeo’s Dave-1), Craze and Klever, and label head Nick Catchdubs are all scheduled to DJ during the eight-hour fete, while also featuring a slew of young hip-hop favorites including Yelawolf, the label’s own Donnis, and Pill. Phew.