Despite turning 50 this year, Andrew Weatherall is as busy as ever, having just released his debut LP as The Asphodells. It's relationships like the one he holds with Leeds clubbing institution Back to Basics that have propelled Weatherall to where he is today: he cut his teeth as a resident in the early '90s and is now one of their most respected guests. Last month, for the first time in a while, Basics invited Weatherall down to The Garage to perform alongside esteemed resident and co-founder Ralph Lawson.
Dark, quirky and labyrinthine, the Garage perfectly caters to the Basics ethos (its owners, after all, are long-time Basics affiliates Tristan da Cunha and Iain "Frenchy" French). Spinning from the club's tailor-made DJ truck, resident James Holroyd laid down a lively opening set of up-front house both old and new. By 1:30 AM, the main room was packed, poised and primed for the main attraction. Cleansing the dance floor with a slice of beatless, melodic electronica, Weatherall began his recalibration of the evening's musical output. There was a cinematic feel to his set, emotive yet consistently pumping. During extended, flowing breakdowns, Weatherall would stand over the mixer swaying gently, both eyes fully closed, transmitting waves of intense feeling through to the sea of revellers. Moving from slower disco growlers all the way through to full-frontal piano numbers, he closed out proceedings with a rendition of Plastikman's "Spastik," much to the crowd's delight.
Following such mastery was never going to be easy, but Ralph Lawson is a legend in his own right. Dancing and prancing about behind the decks, he mixed up a selection of classic-sounding house with his usual dexterity. Frame two of the scene's best DJs—with 20+ years of hedonistic, passionate dedication to house music between them—in one of the UK's best new venues, and there could really only be one outcome.