Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Andrew Weatherall weekender

I reached the ripe old age of 36 last month and to get over it, we went to the Andrew Weatherall weekender in Sete in the south of France for two nights of nocturnal shits and giggles... here's what happened...

The dusty old nooks and crannies of Sete's Theatre de la Mer are perhaps more used to dramatic re-enactments of classic tomes and high brow cultural bashes than electronic knees ups.

But at the end of September this amazing, coast hugging venue throbbed luridly to the beats of Convenanza, Andrew Weatherall's annual music festival.

Dedicated to the passions and talent of the almost mid fifties acid house veteran, the event was previously located in Carcassone within the walls of a medieval count's castle. You'd walk up through the town past the elderly tourists choffing on snails and red wine with bats circling overhead before entering the lair. This year, the crew exchanged the castle for the theatre, heading to the sea and over two nights, held one of the most spectacular shindigs you could wish for.

It's obvious that 'the guvnor' (as AW is affectionately referred to by the crew of gnarled ravers in attendance) is well used to throwing a rave in a suitably incongruous location. But while the setting helps, it's the on point musical selections and programming that always makes it special. From the live electronica of Autarkic to Weatherall's own psychobilly sets, the soundtrack riffs and kicks across all bases.

Sete is a balearic working port in the day, still heated by the late September sun, but when night fell, strobes and smoke beamed out from the venue like electronic sirens urging ravers to come and crash on its salty shores.

As you'd expect, the crowd was a sausage fest but more than made up for this lack of diversity by being totally up for it. No nobs, as the grizzled late 40 sometings we made friends with gurned at us. They might be old but they were hardened, willing to go in over the two evenings while the baby sitters back in the UK worked as hard as they raved. I know our's did. And of course the line up, all cherry picked by Weatherall's exquisite taste. It was so good I returned to the UK with 35 euros worth of drinks tokens while the only French food we ate was a cheese toastie and a burger. You could buy oysters, dance dangerously on steps and even buy scrambled eggs from the food vendors. It's a bizarre mix of the civilised and deranged and is like nowt else... they even finished with this on the Friday which was a fitting tune to stagger off and have a cry to. Ooof...

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