This one really hit me. Normally beloved artists dying doesn’t bother me, but this was like being punched in the stomach. I’ve never felt so much grief about the death of someone I’ve never met.
For me he was the best DJ in the world. He was the complete package. Not just the legendary production career and some of the most influential records in dance music, across so many styles – indie-dance, IDM, ambient, house. Not just the fact he was there right from the start, playing at the first and most legendary clubs of the acid house explosion. Not just that he pretty much kick-started the careers of names as big as The Chemical Brothers by signing and championing their early records. But as a DJ.
By pretty much every yardstick of DJing excellence he was top of the class. He played basically everything over his career – Balearic, dub, hard techno, deep house, downtempo, acid, electro. Hell, when he played in Liverpool a couple of years back he warmed up for his own all-night club set by playing 6 hours of rockabilly records in a bar. His mixing could be as loose as it needs to be when he was getting eclectic, and as tight and tricksy as you like when laying down techno. The way he programmed a set and made the records flow was exceptional, with music that can be very hard to segue smoothly.
I’ve seen him something like nine or ten times in the last seven years. Every time bar one he played the whole night – minimum 6 hours – and he’d warm it up from basically playing ambient and dub at the start, all the way through the slo-mo ALFOS sound he pretty much invented over the last decade and then into filthy acid and techno and big euphoric finishers. And pretty much every time I saw him, it was incredible music all through the night. A year or so back he played all night – 7.5 hours – for free in a bar in my city. Best DJ set I’ve ever heard. There was a point where we just started laughing in disbelief every time a new bassline came in. It was just absurd how well he was playing. Banger after banger after banger, all night long.
The part that really makes it feel like a tangible loss is that I’ll never get to experience that again. Because there’s no substitute for hearing a DJ play live in a club, on a soundsystem, while you’re high on drugs, making it up as he goes. You can’t re-listen to a Soundcloud set or a CD and get that feeling back. I suppose to most people on here he’s only known through his recorded sets, because he rarely played outside the UK. The majority of his gigs were in London, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow. But I’d go see him live at least once a year, usually with a big group of mates. It was just a given that if Weatherall was in town you’d go and you’d have one of the best nights of the year. And you’d see the same people every time, who’d follow him all around the country and then go to his festival in France every September. There was a whole community of Weatherall fans in the UK. The crowds at his parties were totally loyal and would follow him anywhere he went musically. The atmosphere was always exceptional. And now all of us have had that taken away without warning and we’ll never get to experience it again.
> A Secondhand Sunrise [Lush Breakbeat House]
> Lost In You [Trance Classics]
> I Dreamed Of Summer [Deep & Melodic House]
> Into The Blue [Progressive]
> Hangover Square [House/Tech/Progressive]