Last Saturday's headliner, Andrew Weatherall, has been in the business ten times as long, so there was a decent contingent of denim-clad guys over 30 looking slightly out of their depth among so many saucer-eyed 20-year olds. TEAK takes its name from the antiques emporium situated above its basement home, and the small, 150-to-200-capacity venue was nicely busy from start to finish. Beyond the soundsystem's sweet spot, there was always plenty of space to dance, which is one of my favourite things about going out in Cardiff: even when a big artist is in town, you rarely have to suffer packed, sweaty rooms.
TEAK's basement, L-shaped and filled with pillars, might be the best place to dance in the city. The vibe was especially good on Saturday for a number of reasons. For one, it's rare for anything to happen here aside from TEAK events, which are known for selling out incredibly quickly. So even if the venue wasn't full of Weatherall diehards, you could sense that people were excited just to be in the space. The atmosphere was also boosted by the smiling bouncers and gently enforced no-photos policy, with stickers placed over phone cameras.
Residents David J Bull and James Teak played a superb warm-up, the otherworldly boogie of Chiemi Manabe's "Untotooku" bridging the gap from early-doors weirdness into simmering space disco. Resembling, as ever, a 1920s butcher with tattoos and turn-ups, Weatherall channelled the vibe of his and Sean Johnston's A Love From Outer Space parties, hewing to a sound he's jokingly called "drug-chug." Across four hours, he traversed several decades of music, choosing records that hovered around the 120-BPM mark and had a certain bob and thrust about them.
Post-punk guitars and rough drum sounds merged with slow acid house to form dubby disco rollers. Even as Weatherall upped the energy, via tunes like Younger Than Me's "Disco Rootz," he still found space for the occasional camp '80s synth jam. By 3 AM, the clap-and-cowbell rumbles had been punctuated with increasing frequency by shining synth breakdowns, transmitting a psychedelic mood that fused nicely with the incense wafting around the club. Weatherall showed, once again, that he's an artist who exists in his own world, beyond trends. No other DJ can chug like him.
Photo credit /
James Morgan Rees (Rock-Ola)