Thursday 28th March
Victoria Warehouse, Manchester (The Warehouse Project)
Manchester’s Warehouse Project is now synonymous with events of the most impressive proportions, a reputation cemented beyond all doubt as it played host to one of the biggest lineups of 2013 in the much-anticipated Skreamizm showcase.
Limited to rooms 2 and 3 on the night, the floors were heaving well before last entry, with an impressive set from Loefah kick-starting the frenzied atmosphere early on. Tasked with an early 23:00 set before a midnight dash to London’s Fabric, Jackmaster delivered a trademark set full of huge house, electro and bass, feeding off the excitement of a clearly hyped crowd to throw a watertight mix, as is now expected from the prolific Glaswegian. Amidst a feverish set, Boddika and Joy O’s Dun Dun collaboration was one of countless tunes familiar to a well-practiced Manchester nocturnal.
Though WHP’s ability to amass the highest talents in electronic music is what makes its nights so special, it’s worth noting that the venue itself caters perfectly to the needs of such exhibitions; high ceilings and a no frills layout means that the focus is purely on the music, and an electric atmosphere does not yield the uncomfortable heat that lesser venues do. The open plan, factory feel means that at times it can get cold, but then on a night as big as Skreamizm! few will complain at the chance to cool down and recharge, with several hundred sticking it out for the duration.
Over in the smaller room, Koreless continued the Glaswegian influence, taking the packed crowd on with obvious enthusiasm. At just 21, a real fledgling on the DJ circuit, Koreless rose to the challenge of a daunting standard, settling comfortably into a tracklist that combined a superb ear for melodies and a taste for dominant bass-lines. On a night when bigger names were bound to grab the twitter-space, the youth managed to justify his inclusion and will have earned himself a fair few fans along the way.
If the last quarter is anything to go on, Krystal Klear’s set was similarly well-received, but it was Skream’s set that saw the night ascend to it’s highest, the Croydon based producer relentlessly moving the substantial sea of limbs. Making his way through the electronic spectrum, with tunes from his earlier dubstep releases blending with a refined selection of more house-inspired sounds and nostalgic dance; see Ten City’s That’s the Way Love Is for reference. Having worked the circuit for over a decade, Skream’s as experienced as any of his peers, and his dedication to the XL night was clear even before his call of ‘will everyone stop taking pictures and get fucked up?’ inspired a second wind to the fanatic crowd. Many consider Skream’s latest releases to be a divisive departure from his pioneering dub tones, but if Bang That is a new direction, it’s one which should be embraced.
Jackmaster and Skream had set the bar high, but from 3:30 Rustie was doing acrobatics over it, closing the night with a mind-blowing set which saw all the Glass Swords heavyweights come to life as only they can. Jackmaster has recently described Ultra Thizz as the biggest track in his catalogue, and it’s hard to disagree as the multiple re-entries and percussion breaks usher in the biggest drops of the night. Likewise, the likes of Hover Traps and All Nite sound huge on the Warehouse sound-system, for which it seems Slasherrr was tailor-made. Every artist on display was proficient in the art of bass music, but Rustie’s ability to shake the floor stood out unparalleled. Ending the set with a comedown-friendly half hour, including a crowd-delighting funk-attack with Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, it seemed like Rustie might see the sell-out crowd off gently; dropping After Light ensured that this wasn’t the case.
Nights like these are rare, but if you’re going to look for them, Warehouse Project is the place to start.
Review by Andrew Kemp
Images courtesy of C M Taylor Photography