DJ Jonathan Toubin brings Soul Clap & Dance-Off to San Francisco


Over the course of the last five years, Jonathan Toubin's signature party, New York Night Train Soul Clap and Dance-Off, has become North America's most popular soul party, by far playing to more people in more places and generating more capital than any of its contemporaries. Before gearing up for a mega-tour that pushes off on "The Bruise Cruise" floating Caribbean rock festival, glides across Europe, and concludes at its official SXSW showcase (the only dance party in the festival's history given its own full night), the all-soul 45s party and dance contest is hitting a few select North American cities in December and January - including San Francisco on December 4, 10:00 P.M. - 2:00 A.M. at The Knockout. Tickets are $5.00 at the door.

The Soul Clap and Dance-Off began as a way for Toubin to play his soul 45s to a small north Brooklyn underground art/rock social community in the spirit of the mid-1990s indie/punk scene in which he cut his teeth as a musician. The humble makeshift neighborhood effort rapidly evolved into an institution as Toubin got people to dance to music most of them had never heard before.

The touring Soul Clap party brings communities together not only on the dance floor, but also on stage via with the Dance-Off judges Toubin selects. Juries have included popular locals as well as an unusual mix of cultural figures like Satanic Priestess Karla LaVey, Green Party vice-presidential candidate Matt Gonzalez and musicians like Mike Watt, MGMT leader Andrew VanWyngarden, Royal Trux's Jennifer Herrima, Jello Biafra, the Avengers' Penelope Houston, and Monotonix' Yonatan (who has judged in three countries), Yeah Yeah Yeah's Nick Zinner and more.

The party and Toubin have garnered immense acclaim. Time Out NY has called it "the mother of all soul jams," Flavorpill has named it "New York's best soul party" and Paper has said "New York Night Train's Jonathan Toubin throws the raddest underground rock parties in New York."

Upcoming Soul Clap and Dance-Off Dates

December 3 - Miami, FL
10:00 P.M. - 2:00 A.M.
12:00 A.M. Dance Contest
30 Northeast 14th Street
Miami, FL 33132

December 4 - San Francisco
10:00 P.M. - 2:00 A.M.
12:00 A.M. Dance Contest
The Knockout
3223 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

December 6 - Los Angeles, CA
10:00 P.M. - 2:00 A.M.
12:00 A.M. Dance Contest
1717 Silver Lake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

About Jonathan Toubin

A former musician, academic, and writer, Jonathan Toubin is best known for both his current role as an internationally touring 45s DJ and as the proprietor of the New York Night Train music production, promotion, and recording company. In less than five years he's gone culturally and commercially where no other rock and soul DJ has gone before, packing rooms beyond capacity-worldwide-deejaying, promoting, and producing parties like the Soul Clap and Dance-Off (all soul 45s and a dance-contest), Shakin' All Over Under Sideways Down (raw maximum rock & soul), New York Night Train Happening (underground multimedia spectacle), Polyglot Discotheque (exclusively foreign language freakbeat and psych 45s, dancers, and visuals), Boogie Night (minimalist blues dance party), and now Land of 1000 Dances (60s dance craze party/class). He also does weekly residencies everywhere from boutique
hotels like the Ace to infamous dives like Motor City Bar.

Toubin has managed to keep one boot in the counter-culture from which he emerged (punk bars, DIY basements, loft parties, art galleries, music venues, and shady afterhours spots) while crossing over to dance clubs, prestigious festivals, boutique hotels, museums, colleges, fashion parties, gay events, arena pop/rock shows and even raves. Aside from dreaming up the concepts behind his various acclaimed spectacles, he also handles virtually all of the promotion for his enterprise, including up to five fliers a week that are themselves works of art.

Along the way, Toubin has shared the DJ booth with the likes of Kool Herc (who is credited with founding Hip Hop music), David Johansen (New York Dolls), Genesis P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle), James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem), Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Ian Svenonius (Chain and the Gang, Nation of Ulysses, Make Up) Kid Congo Powers, Simeon Coxe (Silver Apples), Andy Rourke (The Smiths) Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance), Dale Crover (The Melvins), Devendra Banhardt, Gabriel Roth (Dap-Tone Records, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings), House of House (DFA), Jared Swiley (Black Lips), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys etc), Jon Spencer (Blues Explosion, etc), Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio), Moses Archuleta (Deerhunter), Mr. Fine Wine (WFMU's Downtown Soulville), Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Paul Ryder (The Happy Mondays) and The Shins.

New York Night Train parties have featured performances by...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead (2-piece hardcore lineup), A.R.E. Weapons, Andrew WK, Calvin Johnson, Chain and the Gang, Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, Excepter, Grass Widow, HEALTH, James Chance, Jim Jones Review, Kid Congo and the Pink Monkeybirds, King Khan and the BBQ, King Khan and the Shrines, The Slits, Suckers, Surfer Blood, Talk Normal, Vietnam, Vockah Redu, and others.

Toubin has also DJ'd at shows by artists as diverse as Black Dice, Black Keys, Black Lips, and Black Mountain and Erykah Badu, Mission of Burma, MGMT, Odd Future, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Katy Red, Dinosaur Jr., Spank Rock, and Les Savy Fav. He recently followed Kool Herc at All Tomorrow's Parties and has appeared at other festivals including SXSW and Ponderosa Stomp.

Toubin's sound is a deliberate attempt to offer a higher quality, more challenging approach to nightlife by battling obvious hits, contemporary dance trends genres, and tinny mp3 files by exploring high quality unheard music, delving into timeless dance music, and spinning sonically supreme authentic original 45rpm records and cutting them together with a playfully beat conscious fluidity. Not only is Toubin fighting the laziness, mediocrity, and predictable lack of originality that makes up the formats of most current dance parties, but he's also out to shake up the sound of typical mod, garage, northern soul, and funk formats by developing a playfully unique DIY sound and mixing style that growls meaner, thinks deeper, and runs faster than all of the tired generically-constrained archetypes. Over the course of his career, he stepped away from all of these traditions to show how,
without playing hits, a variety of cultures and subcultures can dance together.

Related Articles

San Francisco THEATER Stories | Shows  Like BWW SF  Follow BWW SF

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...