Tag Archives: the northern star

Dave Beer & Ali Cooke

IT’S nine o’clock on a cold Saturday evening and Ali Cooke and Dave Beer are in their tiny office in the labyrinthine Music Factory, looking suitably shagged out after a trip to the Royal Albert Hall to collect Back to Basics’ prestigious Mixmag club of the year award last night.

The two bleary-eyed promoters clearly enjoyed the occasion to the full. They are not at their best. And all this less than a year after the club’s first night.

“I didn’t even realise you got awards for stuff like that,” Beer says. “When we set the club up, it’s not as if we did it to put ourselves in the limelight.”

“Dave wanted to go to a club where he’d like the music and the people around him,” adds Cooke, who also DJs at Basics. “And I wanted the chance to play the kind of music I want to play.”

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Unique 3

BRADFORD’S Unique 3 have been mixing up reggae, house and hip hop into over-the-top, bass-heavy dance music for a couple of years now. On the eve of the release of their new single Activity, they talk to Expletive Undeleted about bleeps, basslines and Belgium.

Even by bad taste nightclub standards, the fun palace where I’m to meet Edzy from the Unique 3 in Bradford is impressive.

It’s the kind of place which utterly transcends abstract concepts like taste and style. It’s huge, it’s gaudy and it’s one of The Hitman and Her’s more upmarket future stop-offs. But despite all the free aftershave, the multiple screens blasting out MTV, and the gold plating around the ornamental goldfish pond, the bottom line is that the gents still smells like a gents.

The rest of the club is as grandly decked out as the pissoir, with all the state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment you would need to make Sharon and Darren’s Saturday night go with a bang. All in all, there are a lot worse places to spend a Saturday night, I suppose.

But only if you can actually get through the door.

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Andrew Weatherall*1

HE MIGHT describe himself as the “classic underachiever”, but Andrew Weatherall doesn’t seem to have done so badly.

A music and fashion nut from Windsor with an unhealthy obsession for the minutiae of the rituals and mores of a string of different youth cults, Weatherall is part of that charmed generation who were just about old enough to experience the first wave of punk rock first hand but not too old to appreciate acid house 10 years later.

Inspired by Peter Hooton’s The End fanzine, Weatherall and his friends Terry Farley, Cymon Eccles and Steve Mayes – already seasoned clubbers to a man – created the football, music and fashion Boy’s Own fanzine in 1987.

They threw some very groovy guerrilla parties styled on the scene they’d experienced at places like Amnesia in Ibiza, before Weatherall, Farley and Steve May launched the hugely-influential Boy’s Own record label (look out for 20th anniversary events coming up this year), which has gone on to bring people such as the Chemical Brothers, Underworld, X-Press 2 and Black Science Orchestra to the world’s attention.

Weatherall is probably as much to blame for the horror that was ‘indie-dance’ as the Great Satan Oakenfold. His remix of Primal Scream’s I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have – which he transformed into the downtempo Balearic masterpiece Loaded – spawned a thousand tedious de-facto cover versions by everyone from Blur to the Soup Dragons.

Since then, the former Shoom resident has become synonymous with the heavier, more intense end of electronica, with club nights like Blood Sugar and Sabresonic and production outfits like Sabres of Paradise and Two Lone Swordsmen. But Weatherall has a million other aliases and guises. He’s a difficult man to pin down.

The last time our paths crossed, a couple of years ago, I busted my knee dancing around an open-air club at 6am after a long, long night at the Benicassim festival in Spain.

I’d somehow got separated from Dr Drew and, decidedly dazed and confused, made friends with some lovely boys from Zaragoza who, amongst other kindnesses, blagged me into the party.

Weatherall  wasn’t playing punk, but I felt the need to pogo. It was that kind of night/morning. In fact, he’d actually gone a bit disco, well, in a deep house kinda way. It was an entirely unexpected turn of events, but it was a laugh a minute.

The first time I met Andrew Weatherall was in Leeds towards the end of 1993 after a gig at Soundclash.

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