The Warehouse Project - 1-800 Dinosaur
Saturday 8th November
Store Street, Manchester
The 1-800 Dinosaur record label originally started off as a club night at London’s own Plastic People run by James Blake’s old manager and former R&S record’s Dan Foat who also appeared on the nights excellent line up. The label itself has always been about pushing a huge variety of music and not discriminating towards any genre. This openness to allow a barrage of different genres and styles into the evening’s line up was one of the reasons I felt this night was so successful and unique. It is worth quickly mentioning that this was one of the few Warehouse Project nights not to sell out online. This was noticeable both queuing and in the venue itself however, this not a complaint as the ability to have good dancing space throughout the night, even through James Blake headlining set, was hugely appreciated.
The evening began for me in room two, which for me in other Warehouse Projects events has been left unfairly ignored. I was excited to spend some time there before the big headlining sets there. Klaus began things warming up the crowd with his genre blending set, the highlights of these for me being the heavy bass driven Techno tracks. It was very hard to place a genre on the evening as every artist provided a completely different vibe and even within the individual sets it was hard to pinpoint a style or genre. If the DJs had not had been seasoned producers and selectors it might have been confusing or frustrating for the audience however, the selection and the ability of the guys behind the decks allowed for seamless transitions between Techno, Tech-House, Grime and Dubstep.
It was time to move back to room one to watch another key player in the R&S Records and 1-800 Dinosaur team: Airhead , the UK producer and DJ who in the last few years has transformed himself from someone whose tracks are ambient and slow to a producer making club ready tracks leaning towards Techno. This huge contrast of producing styles was noticeable throughout his set. He effortlessly combined his slow and brooding tracks of his 2013 album For Years and his new work including the two tracks from his new EP October and Macondo which lit up room one perfectly. Airhead was a perfect build up to the two people I was most excited about on the night’s line up. James Blake’s live set and the DMZ creator and Dubstep pioneer Mala.
The crowd in room one was absolutely rammed as the live band set up and did last minute sound checks in preparation of Blake’s unique combination of melodic vocals and bass heavy production that we have enjoyed through two studio albums and a handful of EPs and remixes. Blake opened with the track that first got me into his music; the incredible CMYK. Having heard this track in a club environment being dropped into various sets over the years it was hugely refreshing to hear this track being played live and the vocals coming straight from James. Blake’s hour and a half set allowed him to play a full range of tracks ranging from his early creations like CMYK and tracks from his newest album including Retrograde and Life Round Here, which were all performed incredibly and sounded amazing on the huge sound system set up in room one. The atmosphere was one of complete wonder as people were mesmerised watching Blake and his live band play. He also managed to intersperse heavy techno and bass music tracks which made for an incredibly unique live set which was an absolute joy to watch and continued the nights ethos of ‘any genre goes’. James ended his amazing set with possibly his most well known song The Wilhelm Scream which was turned into a six minute epic, building up to an incredible crescendo. It was an unforgettable end to of the most unique set of the evening.
It was now time for Mala to grace the decks of room one to yet again switch up the pace of the evening. The first note worthy track was Mala’s genre defining track Changes which sent room one into a complete frenzy. Mala’s set included tracks by himself and many artists from the DMZ and Deep Medi labels. The absolute highlight of Mala’s set was when he dropped the track Gantz by the Deep Medi dubstep producer Spry Sinister. Having seen Mala and other dubstep producers play festivals in Croatia it was amazing to finally hear Dubstep in its true form in a club setting. DMZ and Deep Medi ran the Dubstep scene in 2014 and seeing a true pioneer of the genre still exciting audiences’ years after sceptics started claiming that “Dubstep was dead”, was something very special. A special mention to Trim, the UK grime vocalist, is also necessary who was on the mic’ throughout Mala’s set.
1-800 Dinosaur managed to pull off an incredible night of genre blending music, providing one of the most unique and exciting Warehouse Projects I have ever been to. The friendliness of the crowd and their willingness to enjoy such a variety of genres in one night is always a pleasure to watch.
Words by Stan Platford
Images courtesy of Joey Hartley Photography