With the latest advances in sound technology every fuzz, pop and chord progression is now ours to consume in the live show setting. Whether subtle or sonic you’ll find the top sound systems at these San Francisco music venues.
Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
Hours: Daily – 8 p.m to 11 p.m.
Music enthusiasts have always had a soft spot in their heart for the Freight & Salvage. This Berkeley landmark has dedicated itself to the music, the musician and the fan for 43 years. Since relocating in 2009 to its 18,000 square-foot eco-friendly location and undergoing a $12 million renovation, the Freight substantially increased the wow factor. The 440-seat listening room, designed using audio engineer specialists Meyer Sound technology, is the Bay Area’s finest auditorium to hear folk, bluegrass, jazz and traditional roots music.
Hours: Tues to Fri – 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sat and Sun – 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Sitting adjacent to a piece of hallowed ground where the legendary jazz club Black Hawk once stood recording masters like Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, the northeast corner of Turk and Hyde now welcomes the best DJs making you work up a sweat with sets of thumping madness. Beats are flying six nights a week in this newly renovated hotspot redefining what it’s like to be cool like that.
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Hours: Daily – 8 p.m. to 2 p.m.
DJs take their production prowess to the Mezzanine where talent surpasses genre and limitation. This chameleon-like venue has taken home top honors in the Bay Guardian’s Best Dance Club several years running with its custom-built sound system for both live and electronic music. Get your fix celebrating both old school Hip-Hop with shows like Cream of the Beat and mash up parties with Bootie SF spinning music from the past and present.
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Hours: Thurs – 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., Fri to Sat – 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Ruby Skye is one of the city’s most glamorous night clubs nestled off of Union Square in downtown San Francisco. Immense in size, the two levels boast top notch sound reinforcement systems and state of the art lighting working the energy and mood of the 900 capacity crowd four nights a week. World renowned DJs Tiesto, Kaskade, Deep Dish, Armen Van Buren, and Doc Martin crank magic out the cabinets while performers dazzle from up above.
Hours: Wed to Sun – 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
A little known fact about this 4,000 square foot space is that, in its former life, it was a television studio before opening its doors in 2004 and operating as a dance club where fans fall prey to the rhythmic trance of Non Stop Bhangra on a monthly basis. The success of this operation rests comfortably on the shoulders of a first rate sound system and the superb booking style of Dan Strachota who instinctively knows when those red curtains are pulled back people want to see acts like Kurt Vile, Skylar Grey and Theophilus London gracing the stage.
Robyn Chelsea-Seifert is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in The Miami Herald, Creem, Hit Parader, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel and International Musician. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.