Counts, wine, bats, knights, crusades; these are the stuff of which dreams of castles in the south of France are made.
Carcassone is one such city, a fortress so striking the French poet Gustave Nadaud wrote a verse describing the place as one a man dreamed of seeing but couldn't physically see before he died. If the Andrew Weatherall Weekender continues to call Carcassone home, the Wikipedia entry might need some tweaking to include 'amazing, chugging rave space where you can royally lose your shit in a medieval manner'.
While the annals of history may show it it to have been attacked by warriors armed with steel, the only metal laid down over the last weekend was in the dance, a double header featuring four sets from Weathers, two as the eclectric Music Is Not For Everyone, a further pair as A Love From Outer Space and The Asphodells.
While the musical offering was always going to be second to none, the pre-match bants promised a somelier and a Michelin-starred chef, meaning one could be forgiven for thinking this rave would be well gourmet mate. But the reality was far more gnarly. Plus, no amount of words prepare you for the castle. You walk up the hill through a night of bats, wander over the bridge, through a tunnel and are suddenly surrounded by shops flogging tat and crafts, plus shitloadssssss of foodie places pushing foie gras and snails. But all set in stone to give it an authentic, historical vibe. You can even buy a plastic suit of armour and stage your own battle. But the only fight going on during our jaunt was in the guts of the fortress, between the beats and our lost minds on the dancefloor.
Some marbles were well and truly gone. Sterling Roswell, formerly of Spaceman 3 and the owner of a fine pair of silver boots, played an ace distorted set of psyche country while one old gent gurned at his feet. We thought this grey haired champ was French but he turned out, like many of the clientele, to be from the North West of England. Big up. Another girl was so spannered she tried to get one of the old fella's mates to wheel her around the dusty dancefloor like a wheel barrow. But it all added up to immense shits and giggles. We got down to Crimes of the Future playing a live John Carpenter tribute, then messrs Johnston and Weatherall took the whole place to the outer reaches of the cosmos with three blissful hours of electronic thump.
The second evening started out a slightly more muted affair with hangovers certainly on sight but the ace Parisian's Vox Pop stuck a synthesised blue touch paper under the dancefloor, inspiring the crowd to get their motorik grooves out. Then it was the turn of the Asphodells to wreck the joint, with Timothy J Fairplay and Weatherall knocking it out of the park with a set sodden with sleaze and low slung electronic swagger. We got shit faced and I ate 'magic mushrooms' (which resembled a twig) from a French man who may or may not have been Eric Cantona. Somehow we woke up in our Air Bnb without any memory of walking back. Maybe these two incidents were related? The day after we dejectedly sloped off to the airport to get Ryanair's Andrew Weatherall Express flight back with half the festival and all the DJs... Carcassone - you smashed it m8. Tres bon. See you in 2016...
|We're taking this castle hostage with our cans|
|Carcassone at dusk|
|Down the front|
|In the heart of the rave|