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Live Review: Welcome to the Warehouse 2018

Last Saturday saw the return of The Warehouse Project with their annual opening party, Welcome to the Warehouse. Packed with a cast of renowned DJs from around the globe, on top of marking what will be the Project’s final season at their Store Street venue, the opening night was sure to be on the calendar for anyone with so much as a passing interest in techno or deep house.

Wandering under the train tracks and queuing on a damp Mancunian evening, amidst the excitement of those in the queue, the event’s gritty familiarity was oddly warming. Making our way inside just after the final entry time of 9:30pm, we briefly got ourselves re-accustomed to the venue. The first thing to note is that there has been little change to the interior since last year, or if there has been, it definitely isn’t noticeable. The cavernous brick venue still holds its three impressive stages, meanwhile all the facilities, such as the bars and toilets remain in the same areas as before. This is not a criticism; rather an acknowledgement of the near-perfect formula that WHP have created in Store Street.

By the time of our arrival, music had already been playing for three and a half hours, with DJs like Or:La and Willow in full flow. While it is always painful to miss a set, especially from names that would top other bills, it was especially so when a superstar like Mall Grab is scheduled from 9-11pm, starting half an hour before the listed final entry. While we were able to be there for the latter half of it, I know that we weren’t the only ones who were annoyed to have not caught the whole two hours. The set in question was more techno based than many would have expected from the Australian, punctuated mainly by a heavy four to the floor pulse, as opposed to the house sounds he is best known for. This was perhaps to be expected at this notoriously techno-heavy event, and as such, he found the crowd to be very receptive.  Veterans to his DJ sets however may have been less surprised – it’s rare that Mall Grab lets himself be confined to any genre.

Following on, next to the main stage came the South Korean, Berlin based DJ Peggy Gou. With her meteoric rise in the past couple of years, now surely to be counted amongst the biggest DJs in the world, Gou made her return to Store Street for her second performance at the Warehouse. Following on from the high crowd expectations set by Mall Grab as well as her towering reputation, Gou delivered a thumping, party driven set that was sure to have met every expectation. Our eyes were peeled for the raised shoes, a common sight at her gigs, and we were not disappointed in that regard. Expect her to be a mainstay at whatever venue the Warehouse Project finds itself in the future. One drawback- as has often been the case at past events, was the slight overcrowding in the main room, despite the presence of DJ Seinfeld and Lone in Rooms 2 and 3 concurrently.

As the clock rolled around to 1am the audience had begun to thin out slightly, surely towards Midland in Room 2 (sadly missed by these writers). However, it was a necessary sacrifice as playing in the main room was Berliner Dixon, a veteran always touted among the very best, and a DJ we had been aching to see. Definitely our most anticipated act of the evening, it was an undoubted climax, providing two hours of captivating, unpredictable, yet always pounding rhythms sounds that bowled its listeners over. With any of Dixon’s work in the form of mixes, singles, or albums being so scarce in recent years, this was a set that had been prepared for on hype alone, and even then we were shocked by the pairing of power and composure he brought to the decks, with one of many highlights being 5udo’s breakout banger “One,” which seemed tailor made for the Warehouse Project sound system.

With the crowd dissipating and the evening increasingly feeling like an endurance event (not helped by the puzzlingly early last entrance), we decided to call it a night.  On stumbling out of Store Street at 4am, complete with ringing ears and sweat-covered shirts, everyone was unanimous in their praise. While what the future holds for The Warehouse Project may be as yet unknown, for now it undoubtedly remains the top electronic event in a city with plenty of competition.

Reviewed by Ollie Hastings and Adam Tamimi

Live Review: Dekmantel at WHP

It has now been 11 years since the Warehouse Project’s inception back in 2006. Over its lifetime Warehouse Project have established a reputation for presenting some of the finest club nights the UK has to offer, playing host to several blockbuster line-ups over their annual 12-week stints. You get the sense that co-founder Sam Kandel started the Warehouse Project as a real labour of love to electronic music, and this passion still resonates with the thousands of party goers attending each week. In my 3 years living in Manchester, I myself have been lucky enough to witness some of my favourite acts in Store Street from Four Tet to MIA.

Times have changed since 2006 however, and Warehouse Project has become a pricey affair with tickets now costing around £40. A sick chirpse article from 2013 also claimed Warehouse Project have introduced clauses in artist contracts stating that they will not play another Manchester venue that year. This news garnered criticism from smaller local clubs as such monopolisation of the scene unfairly prohibits competition. Never the less, Warehouse Project still has a special place in heart of Manchester, especially amongst its gargantuan student community.

Dekmantel on the other hand, have a reputation all their own, as an Amsterdam based music company they run one of the largest electronic music festivals in the world. Dekmantel have also dropped many stellar records as a label, boasting releases from heavyweights like Robert Hood and Joy Orbison. Needless to say, it’s easy to imagine Warehouse Project and Dekmantel collaborating to create a special night and my expectations were high.

Arriving 10 minutes late, due to the ever-unpredictable traffic of Curry Mile, the door staff were extremely friendly with me and my girlfriend, and we were shortly ushered through the abattoir-esque plastic flaps hanging in the entrance. Inside, I stepped into room 1 and assimilated myself among the masses of sweaty bodies. Here Fatima Yamaha greeted me with a utopian LED wind farm animated across his stage set up. Yamaha’s trademark saw tooth synth waves blasted through the room effortlessly bouncing from groove to groove. In what felt like no time at all, Fatima flowed through his hour-long set arriving at ‘Araya’ which almost took on anthem status as it built slowly whirling the crowd into a fever, before erupting to a climax.  

Next up in room 1 the exciting, up and coming Shanti Celeste and Call Super were playing back to back. I had never seen either DJ live but I was excited to see what they had to offer after enjoying the recorded exploits of Call Super and seeing both acts recently make Crack magazine’s 50 most exciting DJs list 2017. After staying for around 20 minutes I certainly found aspects to admire from their set however, this admiration was perhaps diminished by the fact Fatima Yamaha is a very hard act to follow. As is often the case with Warehouse Project each room has a fantastic line up, so I headed for Room 3 to check out Interstellar Funk. Having known very little about Interstellar funk I was pleasantly surprised by his set of minimalist techno. I found a lot to like about the energy he delivered and so did the crowd around me which grew noticeably as people were attracted to the room throughout his performance.

Next up, I headed back to Room 1 to catch the legendary Robert Hood who is often dubbed the founder of minimalist techno. Hailing from the techno capital of Detroit, Hood has played a historically recognised role in the progression of the scene as a founding member of the ‘Underground Resistance’. This was my first time watching Hood and I was quite excited to see what he would deliver. Hood brought an assured performance to the Warehouse which had the air of an old pro doing exactly what he does best. Alongside a truly seizure inducing light show his thudding Detroit-techno set was simply a joy.

After marvelling at the exploits of Robert Hood I watched the opening of an erratic high bpm set from fellow techno heavyweight Marcel Dettman. Dettman’s sound followed well from Hood’s and kept the room alive as the night entered its penultimate hour. I was very aware however, that during this time Palm Trax had started in room 2. As a big fan of his releases on Lobster Theremin, I have been trying (and failing) to catch one of Palm Trax’s sets for the past 2 years. Palm Trax’s eclectic set strewn was with his trademark retro synths and samples of decades gone by. This sound was quite the change of pace from Room 1 but as the night begun to wound down for me this change was welcome. At around 5:00AM I left Store Street both fairly knackered and fairly chuffed with the insane quality of music I had witnessed. My only regret from the evening had been arriving too late to catch late additions to the bill JuJu and Jordash, who unfortunately drew the short straw warming the crowd for Fatima from 10:30pm.

In many ways the Warehouse Project was always destined to become a victim of its own success. Even with line ups this good I often struggle to justify the cost of these nights on a student budget. With crowds that now also gather due the Warehouse Project’s leviathan reputation rather than the acts themselves, people nowadays have criticised that many no longer come to appreciate the music. Snobbery aside, I would be lying if I said this wasn’t the latest in a string of superb nights I have enjoyed there, and as long as Warehouse keep delivering this standard of electronic music I must confess I will always be keen to return.


Jack Walker for Fuse FM

Live Review: Chase & Status at WHP

Once again, on Friday The Warehouse Project provided a line-up that filled the part-time carpark with entertainment to the early hours. On arrival, a combination between the sweaty dancers, the bass from the multitude of speakers and the anticipation for the evening ahead instantly warmed us up from the chilly Mancunian evening outside. In room one, we caught the end of Darkzy’s set – bringing Manchester his unique style of dark and moody bassline – before one of UK rap scenes most promising upstarts, AJ Tracey, hit the stage.

AJ definitely didn’t drop the metaphorical baton that Darkzy carried for the hour before him, as he kept the crowd as energised as his predecessor did. Blasting through tracks from his latest EP ‘Secure the Bag!’, he got the crowd shouting back the hooks to ‘Quarterback’ and JME-featuring ‘Alakazam’. Day-one fans were also pleased with inclusions from older projects like ‘Pasta’ and AJs collaboration with his pal and fellow rapper Dave ‘Thiago Silva’. Being able to captivate such a large audience at such a young age shows why AJ is getting traction from both sides of the Atlantic.

After that brief interlude from AJ was back to the main itinerary for the evening: drum and bass. Shy FX and Stamina MC hit the stage next, as the veteran DJ mixed a mixture of trap, grime, reggae and more with his signature bass sounds. The hour-long set built and built until the final climax: where he got everyone singing along to his remix of DJ Fresh and Ms Dynamites ‘Gold Dust’. After his set the sites and sounds of the other stages attracted our attention for a short while, with Redlight bringing some heat in room 2, until returning at the main room for My Nu Lengs set. As young DJs, it was impressive to see them hold their own on a night crammed with experts of the genre.

And now for the main event: Chase and Status stormed through an hour long set of blistering tracks including a whole host of their own tunes. Near the start was new hit ‘Step Away’ off their recently released fourth album, while they closed with universally-known banger ‘No Problems’. Its just a shame that their set was only an hour, as I’m sure they could’ve entertained the crowd for many more.

The night was closed with some of Mak & Pastemans set in room 2 before checking out Dimensions action-packed closing set, until the majority of the crowd left wanting to dance longer into the early hours. If you’re a fan of the line-ups or are oblivious to who the list of names are, Warehouse Project never disappoints as you are bound to find something that will keep you entertained til the morning. Take it from my mate who came up for his first WHP, ‘That was the best night of my life!’.


Jack Palmer for Fuse FM