Back before the tide of grunge and Britpop left a generation washed up on guitars, heroin and verse-chorus-verse sensibilities, there was an entirely different scene bubbling away in underground clubs. Direct from the UK, WE ARE IAN is an award winning show that’s bringing all the thrills, pills and bellyaches of the late 80s rave scene to life at FRINGE WORLD 2018 at the Circus Theatre at Fringe Central from January 29 to February 11.
The Edinburgh Fringe cult favourite is a loud love letter to the age of the illegal rave, depicting the highs and lows of the UK Acid House movement with a messy, multimedia mish-mash of clowning dance routines and lip-syncing. Represented on stage by a single light bulb, club veteran (and step-dad of Dora, one of the show’s three performers) Ian tells anecdotes from the glory days of his youth, as the three performers naively and hysterically attempt to recreate the party, scored by Ian’s favourite tracks from the era: big, bassy, soulful house classics. WE ARE IAN is a technicolour trip through the memories of Britain’s last proper youth movement, told straight from the horse’s mouth. If you’re not familiar with the Madchester movements or just need a refresher, WE ARE IAN are here to get you up to speed…
What to Wear:
The Second Summer of Love was all about expressing yourself; everyone was welcomed and accepted at the rave. You could wear whatever you wanted and there was no judgement. The rave movement was all about feeling good, not looking good. Tarting yourself up to go to a nightclub was the norm before a rave, acid house saw the stuffy shoulder pads, high heels and bright blue eye shadow of the early 80s thrown out the window in favour of baggy trousers, dungarees and XXXXL t-shirts. And of course, sunglasses to hide the fact you’ve not slept for a week. Baggy, loose clothing paired with a bucket hat became the iconic look, but it was mostly practical, because dancing your tits off all night got pretty sweaty.
What to listen to:
Monotonous beats and squelching synths – the invention of the Roland TB-303 synthesiser created a whole new, never before heard electronic sound. At at least 120 BPM, all acid house tunes are perfect for dancing to, and usually, not too heavy on the vocals, so you don’t have to know a song to feel it and enjoy it. The acid house sound started in Chicago before it spread like wildfire across the world, and you can really hear the influence of disco in the early beats. Think A Guy Called Gerald’s Voodoo Ray, Mr Fingers’ Can You Feel It, Maurice Joshua, Todd Terry, Happy Mondays, Lil Louis and Phuture. Acid house is euphoric and beautiful and hits you with happiness right in your belly and you just can’t stop shuffling your feet.
What to eat:
There were no hors d’oeuvres or finger foods at an illegal rave. Or even drinking, other than a shit load of water. One of the reasons the most famous club in Manchester, The Hacienda, has to close its doors was because the bar wasn’t making any money. Everyone was pilled up, and nobody had much interest in booze back then. The only stuff people were munching on were disco biscuits/brown biscuits/beans/scooby snacks/sweets… or ecstasy. That’s all people were eating. And everyone was having a real good time because of it.
Get your bucket hat on and party like it’s 1989 with this special Madchester playlist from WE ARE IAN, showing now at The Circus Theatre at FRINGE WORLD 2018: