3 - 5 June
With half of the Parisian public sector on strike and the waters of the Seine rising after days of torrential rain, arriving at Weather festival in one piece was no straightforward affair.
But this was a festival with a line-up worth fighting the elements for. Plus, the bunker mentality created by the adverse conditions and the remote, industrial setting was actually a perfect precursor to the intense schedule of three days of non-stop house and techno that lay ahead. Countless parties attempt to ape the aesthetics of an industrial wasteland, but Weather goes one better by just actually setting up shop in one: an unfathomably huge sprawl of hangars and concrete, next to a military airport with a space shuttle parked up alongside.
Despite most Parisians treating the opening day as a ‘warmup’, there were still some big guns on display. In a cavernous aircraft hangar hosting the Autumn stage, newlyweds Adam Beyer and Ida Engberg were cultivating a dark, adventurous, and satisfying sound, before old-hands Chris Liebing and Speedy J turned in a crunching, half-step techno wrecking-ball masterclass as Collabs3000 – like Modeselektor without the histrionics. As the sun came up on a grey Saturday morning, Dixon picked up the baton from labelmate Henrik Schwarz, doing that thing he does so well: spine-tingling deep house that isn’t going anywhere fast (and is all the better for it).
Day two brought a raucous set from Parisian artist S3A (Sampling As An Art), who strutted expertly through a set of set of disco, house and assorted delicacies that would have Optimo tipping their hat to the energy and eclecticism on display. The Black Madonna continued the upwards trajectory, slamming through muscular disco, a dash of Soca, a drop of metallic grime, and ending with a ballsy once-through of Daft Punk’s Da Funk as parting kiss for the French crowd.
While the techno got tougher in the dark hangers, with Ron Morelli knocking out ear-splitting fire-crackers on the Winter stage, the Summer stage offered some lighter shades. Egyptian Lover’s boom-bap set was rattling nicely along until his crew got locked into prolonged on-stage taunting of the sound engineer to turn up the volume, who perhaps predictably temporarily turned it down in revenge. Motor City Drum Ensemble kept it playful with some long, simmering Wings-esque piano loops and melodies. Over on the smaller Light It Up! stage, Daniel Wang rolled through spacey, bass-heavy disco, before Robert Hood’s 90s hip-hop set was interrupted by one of the weekend’s only major downpours, sending everyone running inside.
Sunday began with a four hour set from Chilean innovator and sound-tracker of debauchery, Ricardo Villalobos. His set segued between warm and fuzzy but slightly-wonky house, and more low-slung, Andrew Weatherall territory, his crackly records clearly having been lovingly played until their grooves bleed, as the setting sun signalled the final few hours of music. At this point we opted for the gallop through genres that is a Hessle Audio three-way set. Afro-house, cowbell-heavy techno, and tracky, acid-flecked electro all made an appearance. The crew, much like Weather festival itself, seem to have an unlimited supply of incredible, eclectic music.