Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Andrew Weatherall 1963-2020

The last time I saw Primal Scream live was in Sheffield when Rachel was about three weeks pregnant (Primal Scream, not bad for a first gig Martha) and it was a bit of a disaster. Rachel’s mate had failed to read the ticket properly and we ended going in just as the encores started. I spent the evening feeling paranoid that some pisshead would barge into Rach and the Scream were a bit lumpy and static compared to previous gigs going back three decades.

Afterwards, over a pint (or orange juice depending on your present state of propagation) I felt a bit bad and conceded that it was possibly my reception of the music that was floored rather than what was coming off the stage. Except the tepid version of Loaded. That was unforgivable.

One my most treasured memories of JLH was playing Loaded back to back with I'm Losing More.. at the very first night and the whole floor just totally got into it. I remember looking at John Kertland, both of us grinning and thinking 'fucking hell, we got this'. As a result we played it at every night we did. Not the coolest record at the time, but we never cared about cool, we cared about fucking genius.

How can anyone recreate a record as perfect as Loaded? It still sounds like it was made tomorrow. It still sounds fresh, sexy and vital. Deadly serious and devilishly fun. It’s still sounds like teenage car journeys and Anita Cash dancing in slow motion in dry ice in 1992. It’s still Just Want to Dance the Night Away by the Mavericks for perpetually cool and the seekers of thrills.  It still makes me get up and dance. If Loaded was Andrew Weatherall’s only artistic contribution he’d always be an icon. But he was so much more.

Like all indie kids, the first time I heard the name Andrew Weatherall it was in the credits of Screamadelica. I thought he was a producer, someone who added a bit of shine and radio friendly-ness to a record. I had no idea he actually created the music himself. The second time I heard his name he was being described as DJing at an Acid House party wearing a Wonder Stuff t-shirt. This was something I could relate too and this was the secret of Andrew Weatherall’s genius.

I remember reading a magazine, probably the NME, with Norman Cook, Pete Tong and Paul Oakenfold on the cover and in the article they were basically saying dance music was the future, guitar music was shit and anyone who listened to it was an idiot. Andrew Weatherall came from a club culture but had an incredible ear and adoration for music. Not dance music, not indie music, music full stop. It was an incredible gift. His ability to blend genres, blend ideas, to take little bits and make something beautiful and new was talismanic and inspiring as fuck.

It was Weatherall who reviewed the second Primal Scream LP and banged on and on about how great the ballads where when everyone else had written them off. It was him who made the remix of Soon by MBV, and a record that by rights shouldn't even exist. The idea you could create a club banger from a shoegaze band on the same label as The Jazz Butcher and The Loft? Incredible.

But this was Andrew Weatherall. Constantly and consistently (he never stopped, he recently reworked a single by indie band The Orielles) pushing boundaries, reaching for the stars and seeing how far he could go and what he could get away with. He will, of course, be remembered for making music that made clubs full of people go mental and his impeccable taste. I’ll always remember him for making dance music you can actually sit down and listen to and inviting skinny awkward indie kids to the party.

Come together as one, I cant think of a more perfect epitaph.  

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