When KUSF turned 30 in 2007, the celebration was held in the shadow of rumors that the University of San Francisco would pawn the sliver of bandwidth sitting at 90.3 FM to the highest bidder. The story made for what amounted to a mid-life crisis among the ranks of KUSF’s volunteer staff.
But if 30 found KUSF in a somewhat reflective mood, 31 was cause to put anxieties aside and party like tomorrow don’t matter. After all, KUSF is a little like your vaguely dysfunctional, yet incredibly luminous uncle, the one who frequents yard sales in his beat-up truck and collects steel beer cans. In other words, more than a little ragged but always full of surprises, in spite of perpetually empty pockets and, probably, manic depression.
For this correspondent, April 25th began at 5am when, shaking-off an absinthe hangover, I made my way to the station for another installment of my semimonthly engagement, the increasingly inappropriately named (since Daylight Savings Time) “Darkest Before Dawn.”
Do you know the feeling of floating through your day with a sense of ease and purpose? That’s how it felt around KUSF last Friday. The records were sweeter, the callers more fired-up. I even got two “what was that” calls for local records! Way to go Sonya Cotton, who, to me, has a honeyed Judy Collins vocal quality, and Dame Satan, who just keep getting better.
At 10am Ezra from Citay joined DJ Irwin for a special edition of “Sleeves on Hearts.” Ezra is a regular on this program so instead of chatting, he and Irwin played records that each had brought for the other to hear. It was a neat concept–kind of like creating live, spontaneous mix tapes for each other.
Friday at 3pm always means Guest DJ Hour on KUSF and the birthday edition was hosted by Keith Kanoff, friend and advocate to local musicians through his efforts as a booker at the Hotel Utah and CafÃ© du Nord. Unfortunately I lost most of this hour to “cover letter delirium” but I did catch Kanoff’s last selection, Gram Parsons’ “A Song For You,” which was enough to break the mental rigors of the job hunt and endear me to the guy forever.
Round about 9pm a crack-team of KUSF engineers fired-up a remote transmitter from inside the depths of the sold-out du Nord and the evening’s events went out live on the air! The ENTIRE four hour broadcast, including sets by Jenny Hoyston (Erase Errata), Citay, and Wooden Shjips, is archived here.
Much has been written about these artists (Bay Bridged podcasts on Citay and Wooden Shjips here) so I’ll suffice to say that each in their way embody the independent spirit of KUSF and helped make for an incredibly convivial, if not beer and sweat-soaked, party. Aside from incredible music sets, one of the many highlights of the evening included the release of KUSF’s new compilation series, Nice Ass, which features music made by KUSF DJs (its not a conflict of interest that I’m writing about this because I’m not going to tell you which track is mine 😉 ) Long live independent music and long live KUSF!